Jewish community leaders say they’re frustrated more progress hasn’t been made to stop waves of bomb threats against Jewish centers and are asking for a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The JCC Association of North America says more than 100 phoned or emailed threats have been received in more than 30 states since January, including New York.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-terrorism John Miller said the threats are coordinated, with what appears to be one main offender and then copycats. Miller described the main offender’s characteristic as a “typical coward.”
“They hide behind the shadows. They work from a distance and their goal is to instill fear. And doing that behind the shadows shows that they’re not willing to come out and confront whatever the issue is. They want people to jump through their hoops,” Miller said.
Miller has been working with the New York Jewish community centers and advising them about measured responses, particularly when there are defined patterns and characteristics in the large number of fake calls, he said.
“So the measured response is, rather than evacuating the whole building at the first call, which fits all of the elements of the pattern, do a perimeter search with the police, do an interior search with the police and/or explosive detection K-9. And if nothing is found, don’t give the payoff to the threat,” Miller said.
He reassured there are people working day and night on the issue, with local police departments coordinating with the FBI.
Miller also addressed the cost of the NYPD protecting President Trump’s New York City residence, Trump Tower. In December last year, the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, asked the federal government to reimburse $35 million to protect Mr. Trump between the election and Mr. Trump’s inauguration.
Miller called their obligation to protect Trump Tower an “unfunded federal mandate.” While Mr. Trump hasn’t traveled to his New York City home as often as people expected (instead he’s flown to his private club in Florida, costing tax payers at least an estimated $10 million), Trump Tower, his family’s residence, has become a “symbolic target,” Miller said.
“That means not just the residents of Trump Tower, but everything around it becomes part of that protection package. That all counts, and the city shouldn’t have to pay for that from its taxpayers for Washington. It’s not like the U.S. government said, ‘Just do this, if you guys can fit it in.’ They said, we need this protection. We’re running up a big bill for New Yorkers,” Miller said.