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Cuomo: Police, National Guard Patrols Stepped Up In NYC Area Amid Heightened Terror Threat

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced that National Guard troops and additional police officers would be at mass transit points and other sites in the New York City area – amid an increased threat of terrorist activity.

As CBS 2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Cuomo's decision to launch his own war on ISIS adds another layer of anti-terror measures to a metropolitan area that has been constantly on guard since Sept. 11, 2001.

"I think it's safe to say, Marcia, that the state of the metro area will never have been as well-protected as it will be with this plan in operation," Cuomo told Kramer.

Cuomo has directed the heads of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, the New York State Police, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to increase security at sites including LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, and Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road stations.

As WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported, the "across the board" security crackdown comes amid heightened tensions with ISIS, or ISIL, in the Middle East.

Cuomo: Police, National Guard Patrols Stepped Up In NYC Area Amid Heightened Terror Threat

Cuomo emphasized that New York City remains a prime target.

"While we have not received any credible threats, New York City is an international symbol of tolerance and resilience, and therefore continues to be a top target for terrorists," Cuomo said in a news release. "With that in mind and in light increasing terrorist activity overseas, we are increasing security measures across the board at mass transit sites in the region. New Yorkers should rest assured knowing that public safety is our highest priority, and we will do whatever we need to do in order to keep our communities safe."

A full security plan will be announced next week, along with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But Cuomo said more National Guardsmen will be deployed as a precautionary measure.

Cuomo: Police, National Guard Patrols Stepped Up In NYC Area Amid Heightened Terror Threat

"They'll be in large congregation points. They'll be at Port Authority sites. They'll be at MTA sites. They'll be at airports, Penn Station, Grand Central – all throughout the system – and they'll be highly visible," Cuomo said.

As CBS 2's Dana Tyler reported, Cuomo said the city, state and country are facing a new normal when it comes to the fight against terrorism.

"I don't believe we ever go back to a time when we don't have to worry about this threat. I believe it is a situation that's only getting worse," Cuomo said. "The terror groups are getting more sophisticated. They're getting more complex. They're in competition one with the other, so I think this is a situation we have to live with."

But the plan will not come cheap, Kramer reported, Cuomo admitted in discussing the plan that it will cost tens of millions of dollars.

The plan will also require a lot of new manpower, with "hundreds of people -- additional people employed across the system," Cuomo said.

The governor met with legislative leaders and agency heads, and got them to agree by handshake to put additional funds in the budget.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said it was worth it.

"There's no question that terrorist groups – whether it's Hamas, ISIS or some others – they want to kill us. They hate us. They want to hurt us. They want to kill us," said state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre.)

"There's an old saying – precaution must be taken in advance," said state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan.)

At Penn Station Friday night, there was evidence of a higher security posture, and a nervous about TV cameras as a police officer complained about their presence.

But as CBS 2's Lou Young reported, mass transit riders getting off the Metro-North at New Rochelle were also taking note Friday night.

"It tells me that maybe they feel there's something to be concerned about if they feel it's really necessary," said Howard Crystal of New Rochelle.

Another man, Steve Dunn, told 1010 WINS' Darius Radzius that there is no such thing as too much security.

"Anything the governor does to support and increase security is the right way to go," he said.

Some questioned the threat that ISIS poses directly to the U.S.

"It's dominating the news, but there have been people out to get us for a long time," said Chris Lunde of New Rochelle. "I'm not convinced that this group is any more motivated or capable than the groups that have preceded, but if it makes people feel better, then I'm up for that too."

President Barack Obama has vowed to destroy ISIS. The fear is that they could retaliate in the U.S.

"I don't want to continue to feel like I need that level of protection," said Ana Ceppi of New Rochelle. "I want the government to know who these people are and what they're up to."

And at least one high level law enforcement source dismissed the effort as "window dressing," suggesting the money could better be spent on regular policing.

The Port Authority earlier this week redeployed police officers and K-9 units at its facilities, including increased bag checks and on- and off-train checks in the PATH system. The Port Authority has also increased its presence at the city's two airports, as well as bridges and tunnels, the World Trade Center site, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and ports.

The MTA has also redeployed resources and coverage with a focus on Penn Station and Grand Central. More police officers have been deployed to trains and stations, and bag checks and K-9 patrols have been increased.

This past Monday, Cuomo and Christie joined Mayor Bill de Blasio for a meeting in Manhattan with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to discuss ways to secure the region from what they described as a mounting terror threat fueled by Islamic State extremists.

The officials emerged from the meeting saying they would develop a coordinated security plan covering both states.

The session came a week after President Barack Obama told the country he is authorizing stepped-up airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State militants.

"We're increasingly concerned about domestic-based potential acts of terrorism, particularly as groups overseas become more sophisticated in their own propaganda," Johnson said.

Officials are worried that the terrorist propaganda machine will create local lone wolves, Johnson said.

ISIS has been encouraging lone wolves. A recently-discovered post on an online message board for Islamic State sympathizers encourages would-be terrorists to attack tourist hot spots in the United States, -- and Times Square is the top target.

The post is titled "To the Lone Wolves in America: How to Make a Bomb in Your Kitchen, to Create Scenes of Horror in Tourist Spots and Other Targets." It includes bomb-making instructions and a list of ingredients, even how to pack it with shrapnel, WCBS 880's Lamb reported.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said this week that the threat from ISIS now has the NYPD more worried than they ever were about al Qaeda.

"We are quite concerned, as you would expect, with the capabilities of ISIS much more so than al Qaeda," Bratton said.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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