Officials call new Statue of Liberty security plan risky

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visits the grounds of the Statue of Liberty on December 13, 2012. Getty Images

NEW YORKNew York officials say new security plans for the Statue of Liberty could leave visitors vulnerable to terrorism when the island reopens on July Fourth.

The National Park Service has decided to move security screening to Ellis Island.

Sen. Charles Schumer and New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that decision should be reversed.

"I don't think it's wise to shift the screening from Manhattan to the potential target," Kelly said.

"The NYPD and the National Park Service have differences when comes to ideas on how to protect visitors from a terrorist attack," police commissioner Ray Kelly told WCBS. "It simply makes common sense to have the screening done here."

Schumer joined Kelly in urging the Park Service to overturn its decision.

"It means someone, God forbid, could bring an explosive device on the boat," said Schumer. "Imagine, God forbid, a big bomb exploding on a boat going to the Statue of Liberty with hundreds of people on it."

"Leaving the ferry with hundreds of people on board heading towards a national symbol without screening, that's like a sitting duck in New York Harbor," Schumer said. "Could you imagine if airplane passengers were not screened before they boarded a plane and instead they were screened after the plane landed. That makes no sense, it would be unimaginable, but that's what the parks service in effect is doing here."

Previously, passengers were screened before they boarded boats at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

The statue was closed after Superstorm Sandy flooded Liberty Island in October.

Park service representatives did not immediately respond to comment requests on Monday.

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