U.S. Authorities Step Up Security Ahead of Holiday Season in Wake of Paris Attacks

Extra security will be added at airports and mass transportation hubs.

ByGENEVA SANDS and JEFFREY COOK
November 23, 2015, 3:00 PM

— -- As the holidays approach, Americans will see extra security this week on mass transit, at airports, shopping centers and other potential soft targets across the United States.

On Monday the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) said it has measures in place to protect the millions of Americans traveling nationwide this Thanksgiving.

“We are doing everything to keep travelers safe this holiday season,” said TSA Public Affairs Manager Lisa Farbstein.

The agency said it expects to screen 40 percent more passengers in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. There are more than 900 TSA canine teams deployed nationwide tasked with screening passengers and cargo.

The FBI maintains that there is no specific, credible terrorist threat to the U.S., but local and federal law enforcement are on high alert ahead of Thanksgiving and Black Friday as travelers and shoppers head out in full force.

The deadly attacks in Paris earlier this month, as well as the continued terror threat in Brussels, has people on edge, as authorities try to reassure Americans of their safety.

“As we approach the holiday season, we continue to encourage the public to travel, attend public events, and freely associate, but remain vigilant,” said DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson last week.

Over the weekend, Johnson stood alongside New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio to highlight an active shooter drill in a closed subway station. Following the exercise on Sunday, Johnson said that law enforcement is working overtime and is continually reevaluating its posture to ensure the homeland is safe.

PHOTO: In an abandoned subway station in a lower Manhattan, emergency responders stage a drill simulating a terrorist attack Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in New York.
In an abandoned subway station in a lower Manhattan, emergency responders stage a drill simulating a terrorist attack Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in New York.
AP Photo

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday there's a new app residents can download that will help enhance the state’s ability to fight terrorism. The new campaign, called “see something, send something,” is designed to encourage New Yorkers to report suspicious activity.

“We have stepped up our preparedness in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, and we continue to remain vigilant against those who seek to spread fear and violence,” Cuomo said in a statement.

FBI Director James Comey said that despite no known specific threat, he remains concerned about so-called lone-wolf terrorists and those that may have been inspired by attacks overseas by ISIS.

“We are watching people of concern, using all of our lawful tools. We will keep watching them, and if we see something, we will work to disrupt it,” Comey said at press conference last week.

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