NEW YORK — Intelligence officials found no evidence of any specific or credible threat targeting American soil following the deadly Paris attacks, U.S. officials told The Associated Press. Still patrols were stepped up and added security measures put in place nationwide.
In New York, officers with assault rifles stood guard in Times Square, and extra security was stationed at French-owned sites in Washington and consulates in Boston and New York City. But elsewhere around the country, like at Minnesota’s Mall of America, it was business as usual.
Dozens of police cars left Times Square with lights and sirens blaring Saturday afternoon when the New York Police Department deployed its “Critical Response Command” — officers equipped with heavy weapons and other tactical equipment — to strategic locations, including transportation hubs and the Broadway theater district. Officers with radiation detectors and bomb-detecting equipment were sent to subway stations where they randomly conducted bag checks.
“This is not the kind of thing that is a wakeup call to New York City,” John Miller, the department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said of the Paris attacks that left at least 129 people dead and 352 injured. “We’ve been awake about this for a long time.”
A U.S. official briefed by the Justice Department said intelligence officials have detected increased chatter encouraging an attack on the U.S. but nothing of any credible substance. The official was not authorized to discuss the briefing publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and ranking member of the House Permanent Committee on Intelligence, also told the AP there was no evidence of any credible threats targeting the U.S.
Ronnie De La Cruz, who was born in Paris, stopped at the French Consulate in New York to leave a floral tribute Saturday, but shrugged off any concerns about security.
“I think that certainly here in New York is probably about as best as it can be,” he said.
Security also was stepped up at sporting events around the country and the safety measures were expected to continue for the near future. The NFL said it had been in contact with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI and planned increased security inside and outside stadiums on Sunday. League officials discouraged fans from bringing bags.
In Washington, additional law enforcement officers were deployed to French-owned sites and other high-profile locations out of “an abundance of caution,” said police spokesman Officer Sean Hickman. In Boston, the Massachusetts State Police said “a comprehensive and multi-layered security package” was in place at Logan International Airport and patrols enhanced near the State House.
There was no visible security increase at downtown Chicago’s major transportation and tourist hubs, though police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the police department was actively monitoring events in Paris and keeping in contact with federal law enforcement partners.
In Minnesota, a Bloomington police official said the force had no plans to increase security at the Mall of America, which sees some 40 million visitors each year. In February, a video purportedly made by al-Qaida-linked rebels urged Muslims to attack shopping malls and specifically mentioned the Mall of America. Authorities said at the time that no credible evidence suggesting such an attack was in the works.
Los Angeles police said they knew of no threats against the city, but the department beefed up patrols at what it called critical sites, including a Snoop Dogg concert.