Authorities On High Alert For Thanksgiving After Paris

Thursday, November 26th 2015, 11:35 am
By: News 9

Warm temperatures and clear skies could bring record crowds to midtown Manhattan this year for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. More than three million people were expected to line the 2.5-mile route. But along with the crowds come security concerns, and officials at all levels are taking no chances, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan.

"We get threats from time to time that we check out. None of them have checked out," New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday on "CBS This Morning." "We're a city that's constantly on alert because of the terrorism threats from ISIS and al Qaeda. We have the capability to respond very quickly if we do get a credible threat. But this Thanksgiving, we're looking forward to a very celebratory day. Very safe day."

President Obama said there is no specific or credible threat against the U.S. this holiday weekend.

"We are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe," Mr. Obama said Wednesday, attempting to reassure a country on edge. Still, he warned all Americans to remain vigilant.

"If you see something suspicious, say something. That's always helpful. But otherwise Americans should go about their usual Thanksgiving weekend activities," Mr. Obama said.

The president's statement came less than two weeks after 130 people were killed in a series of terror attacks across Paris and just days after the State Department issued a worldwide travel alert due to increased activity from groups like ISIS and al Qaeda. Federal, state and local authorities across the country have since stepped up security, and a joint intelligence bulletin was issued by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to law enforcement nationwide fearing a similar attack could occur at home.

"What we are focused on and continue to be focused on, as we have before Paris, are potential copycat acts," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.

At the nation's airports, increased security meant longer lines. Passengers at LAX, which expects more than 2 million people this week, were urged to arrive two hours before their flights.

Some travelers were taking it in stride. "I know there are real threats more traveling overseas than domestically, but personally, it doesn't bother me too much," one woman said.

At the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, additional uniformed and plainclothes officers will keep a watchful eye over the giant balloons and millions of spectators.

"The terrorists can't succeed if we refuse to be terrorized," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "We have to stand our ground, continue with our lives, continue going about our business. Don't change our lifestyle. Don't change our values."

In addition to bomb-sniffing dogs and radiation detectors, the NYPD will also deploy 200 heavily armed critical response officers for the first time. All this, officials said, will make New York the safest place in the country Thursday.

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