Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly delivered a press conference at City Hall this afternoon, revealing information about the Boston bombers’ plans to come to New York City. Upon earlier information and belief, Dzhokar Tsarnaev said he had planned to come to New York to “party,” but Bloomberg and Kelly told reporters that, in fact, Dzhokar and his brother spontaneously decided after the Boston bombings to bomb Times Square.
“God forbid they had gone to Times Square,” the mayor said, but added that if they had, “they would not have seen the extensive networks of cameras.”
The mayor stressed the investment the city has made in maintaining and expanding surveillance with help from the federal government. “The fact that New York City was next on the terrorists’ list…shows just how crucial it is for the NYPD to continue to expand its counter-terrorism capabilities and intelligence gathering capabilities,” he said. The mayor also repeated a line Politicker’s Colin Campbell highlighted at a previous post-Boston press conference: “special interests” shaping security policy.
“We made major investments in camera technology, not withstanding objections of some special interests,” the mayor emphasized today. He did not say who or what those special interests were.
The dominant, resounding cry in media and politics seems to be clamoring for more cameras, but last week, the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney argued that more cameras could mean less control and safety, not more. “Give the government eyes on every street corner, and you mostly aid the ability of law enforcement to track us without public cooperation, warrants or legal paperwork,” he wrote.
“You’re never going to know where all our cameras are,” the mayor said at today’s press conference. “And that’s how you deter people.”
The New York branch of the ACLU doesn’t agree that more cameras equal more security. When the Voice reached out to the NYCLU for comment, or any insight into what these “special interests” could be, NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman responded with the statement below.
“Our thoughts remain with the victims of this great tragedy. And we understand and agree that there are times, locations and circumstances that clearly call for increased security and protections. But solutions that seriously undermine our freedom and fail to address the security failures of the past may give us a false sense of security while unnecessarily sacrificing individual privacy. We must not play into the hands of those that seek to hurt us by abandoning our free society and allowing our liberties to be needlessly eroded.”
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting the Village Voice and our advertisers.