04 June 2007

Protecting the Mundane: countless lesser-known targets the city struggles to protect from attacks

I often think how remarkable it is nothing else has happened here since 9/11 and until the suspected terrorist plot was revealed, few people even knew there was a pipeline of highly combustible jet fuel snaking beneath the nation's largest city.

But authorities said today that it's one of countless lesser-known targets - including waterway retaining walls, dingy rail yards and tunnel ventilation systems - that they struggle to protect from attacks.

New York police spend "considerable time................ and resources protecting the landmarks nearly everyone would recognise as emblematic of New York and America," Police Commish Ray Kelly said. "But we also protect the anonymous, unheralded elements of infrastructure that are essential to the life of the city."

Cops and Feds were well aware that the fuel system JFK Int'l posed a risk well before investigators unearthed an alleged conspiracy by a homegrown Muslim terror cell to blow it up.

Pipeline networks don't carry the stature of sites such as Wall Street, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, so the general public doesn't give them much notice. Silly public.

For example, the NYPD has monitored the hulking ventilation towers along the Hudson River that feed fresh air to the Lincoln and Holland tunnels for signs of a chemical attack. Tens of thousands of cars pass through the tunnels each day, and they are usually filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic during rush hours. If a nefarious substance got in the tunnel, it could be devastating.

The NYPD has also quietly used its scuba unit to inspect retaining walls on the East River near the United Nations for any signs of underwater mines. In addition, officers have sought to secure rail yards, fearing that terrorists might try to tamper with rail cars carrying dangerous chemicals through the city.

I'm getting overwhelmed just thinking about all this shit. It's like plugging up a hole in one area only to see water shooting out of another. Like that game at Chuck E. Cheese where you bop the thing on the head and then another one pops up.

Past investigations have foiled a separate scheme to flood the Wall Street area by breaching a retaining wall at the World Trade Center site, along with a homegrown plot to blow up the busy Herald Square subway station in midtown Manhattan.

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