Federal, state and local authorities have heightened security in many highly populated locations that are expected on New Year’s Eve, including Times Square and the Rose Bowl party in Los Angeles.
President Barack Obama requested a security threat briefing from his top security officials and among the threats, he was told of one originating overseas warning of possible attacks in three major U.S. cities, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, between the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to senior U.S. officials.
In lieu of the attacks in Paris, San Bernardino and elsewhere, the FBI is increasing agents and staff in some of its 24-hour command centers around the country, including New York, Washington and Los Angeles. NYPD reports it will have 6,000 police near Times Square, the largest deployment ever of its type. Officials say their areas of concern always focus on so-called soft targets, including large gatherings and mass transit.
Senior U.S. officials say the number of probes shows the way ISIS has used technology to enhance terrorist threats. Instead of vetting recruits and carefully planning major attacks as Al-Qaeda and other groups have done, ISIS uses a diffuse-propaganda strategy to encourage its recruits to be self-starters.
FBI Director James Comey calls it “crowd-sourced terrorism.”