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Thursday, November 27, 2014

We shouldn't let our guard down in the war on terror

On April 15, thousands gathered on Boylston Street in Boston to solemnly mark the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.

When the smoke cleared a year ago, the people of Boston and the rest of America stood together in a moving illustration of solidarity, and it became clear once again that America will always stand together in the face of cowardly terrorists.

We will always remember those who died in the horrific bombings, and keep in our prayers all those who were injured, and remain strong in their battle to ultimately overcome those injuries.

The Boston bombings served as a reminder that the U.S. remains under the constant threat of a terrorist attack. In fact, all of our major cities are targets for attack by ruthless terrorists, but Manhattan will always be the biggest target. For that reason, I’m concerned about the New York City Police Department’s decision to disband the surveillance division that was created to collect intelligence on Muslim extremists.

The NYPD’s Demographics Unit, or Zone Assessment Unit, was developed with the help of the CIA after the Sept. 11 attacks. The unit was known to engage and monitor Muslim-owned businesses and mosques across the metropolitan region.

Under Mayor Bloomberg and former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the unit became the center of post-9/11 intelligence gathering, despite the fact that it was widely criticized by Muslim advocates. Although some Muslims complained that their rights were being violated, the fact remains that the biggest terrorist threat comes from the Muslim community.

Long Island Congressman Peter King, a staunch supporter of the Demographics Unit, stated, “The reality is the threat is going to come from the Muslim community. Ninety-nine point nine percent of Muslims are good Americans, but the fact is the Islamic terrorist threat comes from the Muslim community, and good detective work is knowing who is in that community.”

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