July 7, 2005

New York adds security in wake of London blasts

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York boosted security on Thursday
after the deadly London bombings to the highest level since
Sept. 11, 2001, and a top security official urged Washington to
spend more to protect the city hit hardest by the 9/11 attacks.

Uniformed police rode every rush-hour subway, bomb-sniffing
dogs prowled commuter trains and ferries traveled the city's
harbor under armed escort, authorities said.

The measures were added as precautions and not in response
to any specific threat against New York, which has been on
heightened alert since the attacks on the World Trade Center
that killed nearly 3,000 people, said Police Commissioner
Raymond Kelly.

"There's no information to indicate New York City is being
targeted," Kelly told a news conference in Grand Central
Terminal, where police sharpshooters perched on overhead
catwalks and the barks of police dogs echoed through the huge
railroad station.

The blasts on subways and a bus in London, which killed at
least 37 people and injured some 700, coincided with the Group
of Eight summit of world leaders in Scotland.

The blasts forced the shut-down of London's subway system.

New York's subway and train system -- the largest in the
nation -- remained in operation, with ridership at normal
levels, officials said. But the police presence was dramatic.
Uniformed officers patrolled stations, many heavily armed.

"This war is nowhere near over. This should be a reminder
that this could happen here," said James Kallstrom, former
chief of the FBI in New York who now oversees counterterrorism
for Gov. George Pataki.

Kallstrom, like many New York officials in recent years,
complained that federal Homeland Security money is not spent in
the right places.

"This should be a wake-up call to the national command in
Washington that we can do more to protect this great country of
ours," he said. "I would encourage people in Washington to
think again how Homeland Security funds are being deployed."

Around the city, security checkpoints were set up at
tunnels and bridges, helicopters patrolled the waterways and
added police guarded the water supply.

Twice as many police officers as usual were patroling the
subways during rush hour.

"Are we doing more now than we have since 9/11? Yes," said
Kelly. "I believe we're doing more now, and we're more
effective, now since the terrorist incidents of 9/11."

Police conducted security sweeps of commuter trains, truck
traffic was rerouted to centralize security checks and police
checkpoints were added in the city's financial district.

"We know all too well what London is experiencing," said
Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

While he said he agreed that Homeland Security funds should
go "where the threats are," the mayor said: "I don't know that
we have to talk about money today."

"In this city we spare no expense, and figure out how to
pay for it afterward," he said. "We are doing everything that
we can think of."