New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed Monday that the New York Police Department has ground-to-air attack capability that can cripple any airborne terrorist attack. His announcement was delivered in support of Commissioner Raymond Kelly's comment, delivered Sunday in an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, about a weapon that can shoot down any suspicious plane out of the sky in order to thwart a terror attack.
The NYPD has a lot of capabilities that you don't know about and you won't know about, Bloomberg added.
The main thing that keeps us safe is the 55,000 people who work for the police department; the 1,000 dedicated to intelligence and counterterrorism and the 35,000 who are uniformed and on the street every day, the mayor added.
Nevertheless, the fact that the NYPD may be holding a secret weapon begs the question of which government organization - whether the NYPD or the North American Aerospace Defense Command - holds the authority to combat airborne attacks.
Could This Lead to a Tussle Between NYPD and NORAD?
NORAD remains responsible for defending the U.S. and Canada from air attacks on our nations, said department's spokesman John Cornello on Monday. He further added that only NORAD could unilaterally make a decision and launch fighter jets to combat a potential threat.
Terrorism experts are still questioning the capability of the NYPD to bring down an aircraft.
There is no police department that should be making such decisions. That decision should be in the hands of the president of the country, said Maki Haberseld, an expert on terrorism at John Jay College in New York.
The same uncertainty was echoed in the sentiments of a former FBI agent, Mr. Defenbaugh.
I do not know who is giving him the authority to knock down airplanes, not even in New York City, he said.
This disturbing news comes at a time when the NYPD has been accused of violence against peaceful protestors of the Occupy Wall Street movement and facing global disapproval for spying on Muslim communities.