Nearly seven years after terrorists took down the World Trade Center’s twin towers, New York police officials have embarked on an ambitious plan to secure the new development that is sprouting at the lower Manhattan site, reports the Associated Press. The New York Police Department has reinvented itself as an intelligence and homeland security agency. The largest U.S. police department, with 37,000 officers, has spent tens of millions of dollars — much from federal grants — on high-tech security measures designed to thwart threats potentially more daunting than another attack on a downtown skyscraper. It has assigned 1,000 officers to counterterrorism duty, including 10 detectives around the globe who collect intelligence.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said, “It’s still very much a work in progress.” David Cohen — a former CIA official brought aboard after Sept. 11 to head the intelligence division — said the department has identified more than a dozen serious plots against the city that were interrupted or abandoned, including some that haven’t become public. Among them: a cyanide attack on subways by al-Qaida operatives that authorities say was called off in 2002; a aborted al-Qaida plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge in 2003; a local scheme to blow up a midtown subway station in 2004, resulting in the conviction of a Pakistani immigrant; and a plot to bomb underwater train tunnels to flood lower Manhattan, broken up in 2006 by arrests overseas.