‘Homeland’ security coming to hotels, malls
Agence France-Presse|The Raw Story
WASHINGTON – The United States is stepping up security at “soft targets” like hotels and shopping malls, as well as trains and ports, as it counters the evolving Al-Qaeda threat, a top official said Sunday.
A year after a foiled plot to bomb a US-bound passenger plane, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told CNN’s “State of the Union” program that other places and modes of transportation must now be scrutinized.
“We look at so-called soft targets — the hotels, shopping malls, for example — all of which we have reached out to in the past year and have done a fair amount of training for their own employees,” Napolitano said.
Since an attempted bombing on a packed Saturday night in Times Square in May, New York, for example, has installed hundreds of security cameras as part of a plan to triple the number of cameras to 3,000.
In September, the city activated some 500 new surveillance cameras at its three busiest subway stations — Times Square, Penn Station and Grand Central.
“The overall message is everything is objectively better than it was a year ago, particularly in the aviation environment. But we’re also looking at addressing other areas,” Napolitano said.
As extremists struggle to circumvent tighter security at airports and search for new avenues, she said US officials were looking to step up broader measures.
“What we have to do is say, well, what other ways are they thinking to commit an act, because our job is not only to react, but to be thinking always ahead, what could be happening,” Napolitano said.
“And so we have enhanced measures going on at surface transportation, not because we have a specific or credible threat there, but because we know, looking at Madrid and London, that’s been another source of targets for terrorists.”