Cuomo and Christie Bring Together Bi-State Group of Law Enforcement and Security Agencies to Enhance Preparedness and Coordination

All relevant public safety agencies will meet with FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to ensure coordination at highest levels.

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Albany, NY - September 11, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Governor Chris Christie today announced that they will bring together top officials from local, state and federal law enforcement and public safety offices to enhance security preparedness and coordination in the New York-New Jersey region. In light of the growth and recent activity of extremist terrorist movements abroad, and the potential threat they pose to each state and their metropolitan area, this effort - coordinated with the Port Authority of NY & NJ - will bring together all relevant law enforcement and security officials to affirm and build on existing security and preparedness coordination. This will strengthen coordination between varying jurisdictions charged with securing high-risk entry points in the metropolitan area - home to the world’s financial capital, one of the busiest tourist and commerce hubs on the globe - including airports, ports, rail as well as cyber-entry point risks.

Both governors will meet with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force, a federal group comprised of specialists from dozens of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The meeting will include George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's New York Field Office. Jeh Johnson, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, has been invited to attend.

“With new threats abroad growing from the rise of extremist terrorist organizations, we must take every step we can to enhance our security infrastructure to effectively prevent the hateful agenda of these groups from coming onto American soil,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York and New Jersey stand at the center of the global network of finance, commerce, and tourism, placing us in a position as an attractive potential terrorist target. These measures will strengthen the coordination between federal, state and local authorities and by doing so, better protect our citizens from terrorist attacks. I look forward to working together with our local, state, and federal partners and thank them for their continued efforts to stand vigilant against threats to our region and citizens."

“With the growing potential threat from overseas, it is essential that we remain vigilant and ensure we continue to have a carefully coordinated, seamless preparedness and security operation between our two states and the federal government for the safety of our people, our region, and our assets,” said Governor Christie. “Bringing these groups together will help strengthen the existing efforts of the men and women who are charged with the protection and security of our region, and ensure that any potential threat continues to be effectively responded to.”

George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation New York Field Office, said, “Cooperation among law enforcement agencies at all levels represents an important component in developing plans for security preparedness in the New York-New Jersey region. The FBI is committed to working with our colleagues at every level of government—local, state, and federal—across the law enforcement, intelligence, and first responder communities. This initiative will help us in our efforts to facilitate information sharing with our partners and maintain a direct line of communication among multiple jurisdictions.”

The lead representatives from New York will be Joseph D'Amico, Superintendent of State Police, and Jerome Hauer, Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Agencies participating in the group include the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York State Police, the New York Police Department, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police, the New York National Guard, and other law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The lead representatives from New Jersey will include State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes, Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Christopher Rodriguez, representatives from the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Transit, New Jersey State National Guard, and other law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The multi-agency group will work in conjunction with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs). JTTFs provide one stop shopping for information regarding terrorist activities, and are located in 103 cities nationwide, including New York City, Albany, and Buffalo.

In the coming days, New Jersey and New York officials will announce details on convening a meeting of this bi-state group.

About the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces:
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces, or JTTFs, are our nation’s front line on terrorism: small cells of highly trained, locally based, passionately committed investigators, analysts, linguists, SWAT experts, and other specialists from dozens of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies. When it comes to investigating terrorism, they do it all: chase down leads, gather evidence, make arrests, provide security for special events, conduct training, collect and share intelligence, and respond to threats and incidents at a moment’s notice. The task forces are based in 103 cities nationwide, including at least one in each of our 56 field offices. A total of 71 of these JTTFs have been created since 9/11; the first was established in New York City in 1980.

Today, the JTTFs include more than 4,200 members nationwide—more than four times the pre-9/11 total—hailing from over 600 state and local agencies and 50 federal agencies (the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. military, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Transportation Security Administration, to name a few). They provide one-stop shopping for information regarding terrorist activities. They enable a shared intelligence base across many agencies. They create familiarity among investigators and managers before a crisis. And perhaps most importantly, they pool talents, skills, and knowledge from across the law enforcement and intelligence communities into a single team that responds together.