Senator Greg Ball (R, 40th District –Westchester/Putnam/Dutchess), Chairman of the Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs Committee issued a statement today on the state of security in New York State, the Senator’s full message can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qpT-a4ztmY
Ball stated, “From earlier hotel and embassy bombings in the early 1990′s, and the targeting of innocent civilians of every race and creed, to the bombing of the USS Cole and the first World Trade Center Attacks, the atrocities committed against humanity by “Scumbag in Chief,” Osama Bin Laden represented the personification of evil, and today is a good day for all of humanity.”
“ Our troops and special forces have once again proven our nation proud and nearly 10 years after the atrocity committed on 9-11, we now have some closure for one chapter in our long war against al-Qaeda, yet we mustn’t allow this news to lull our nation into a sense of complacency. This widely celebrated death will also be seen as a rallying cry for those sick souls who seek to destroy the United States of America. That is a reality and there is little doubt that New York City stands as terror target number one for those who seek to destabilize America.”
“ Our recent hearings, held in NYC on April 8th 2011 illustrated clearly, that while great progress has been made in securing our city and state, we still have a soft underbelly that is unprotected and vulnerable. I am calling upon all members of the Assembly and Senate to sign my recent letter regarding the issue of radio interoperability and operability. In chilling testimony we now know that the dictates of the 9-11 Commission report have not been taken seriously, and we have first responders who are still not able to communicate properly. Furthermore, core infrastructure, including transportation and communication corridors, from the George Washington Bridge to JFK Airport and vital tunnels are still lacking basic security.”
“Heightened security is costly and manpower comes with a price tag, but that is the price we must pay as citizens of a free nation living in a post 9-11 world, and in light of this news the federal government at the highest levels must immediately make securing all of New York City, and its suburbs, including Connecticut and New Jersey, an immediate priority. History has proven al-Qaeda’s desire to stage strategic, retaliatory attacks and we must be doubly prepared heading into the 10 year anniversary of 9-11. As our intelligence, law enforcement and military communities continue to sacrifice deeply and personally, we must continue our efforts as a state, city and nation to root out the network of terror that exists beyond any one man, and set our minds to craft policies that ensure a future Bin Laden is never again spawned. ”
Senator Ball recently held a homeland security hearing in NYC on April 8th to discuss the state of Security in New York ten years after 9/1. Unveiled at the hearing, were bombshell revelations about a lack of basic protections and staffing at key locations, and possible targets, like the George Washington Bridge, the Lincoln Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel.
Senator Ball and his colleagues on the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee in a bi-partisan effort signed the letter, which summarized the findings of Ball’s recent Homeland Security Hearing in NYC on April 8th, and pressed leaders to take the necessary actions to fix the problem immediately.
Ball’s letter outlines the testimony of Robert Morris, Vice President, Port Authority Police Benevolent Association (PAPBA) and Michael O’Meara, Executive Vice President for the Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Benevolent Association (MTAPBA) who both spoke of serious communication and interoperability problems faced by some New York Police Officers. “The officer carries a radio on his belt but he might as well be wearing a brick,” said Morris to describe the current situation, where some communication devices work so poorly at various locations that officers are using their personal cell phones to communicate with each other. The men explained at the hearing that this creates a very serious safety hazard, not only to the members of the MTA Police Department, but also to the millions of riders who use our system.
The letter cites the 9/11 Commission Report recommendations that “high-risk urban areas such as New York City and Washington, D.C., should establish signal corps units to ensure communications connectivity between and among civilian authorities, local first responders, and the National Guard.” As well, that federal funding for emergency preparedness be based, “solely on risks and vulnerabilities, putting new York and Washington, D.C. at the top of the current list.
Senator Ball will be holding the next installment of his Homeland Security Hearings to discuss the status of security in New York State in Albany on June 14th, where solutions to the radio inoperability problem exposed at the April 8th hearing in NYC will be further discussed, as well as the possible solutions.
“Whether the problem is a technical one, a political one, a funding issue, or a collective action licensing problem, we have to fix our radio interoperability problem once and for all, to insure the safety of millions of New Yorkers and the lives of our first responders,” stated Senator Ball.
You can view the hearing in its entirety here: www.tinyurl.com/HomelandSecurity4811
Details for the next installment of Senator Greg Ball’s hearing to establish the state of security in New York ten years after 9-11 follow:
What: Public Hearing to establish the state of security in New York ten years after 9-11
When: June 14th 9-1
Where: Hearing Room A LOB Albany, NY 6977