On December 17, flanked by his national security team, Obama told the nation there was “no specific, credible threat” against the country ahead of the holidays.
Following the Paris attacks a similar message was sent by the administration prior to Thanksgiving.
As Obama left on his Hawaii vacation he was told by his top security officials there was a less than definitive threat originating overseas and New York, Los Angeles and Washington might be targets.
“The threat was uncorroborated and was based on a single source,” CNN reported on Wednesday.
“Though we know of no intelligence that is both specific and credible at this time of a plot by terrorist organizations to attack the homeland, the reality is terrorist-inspired individuals have conducted, or attempted to conduct, attacks in the United States this year,” a Department of Homeland Security bulletin said on December 16.
The DHS has designated a number of events around the nation as level-1 security concerns.
Despite the lack of credible evidence terrorists are planning to attack, the NYPD will send nearly 6,000 police officers into Times Square during the New Year’s Eve celebration. Hundreds of them will be armed with automatic weapons, bomb sniffing dogs and radiation detectors.
Celebrants can expect multilayered checkpoints and the presence of a new 500-member Critical Response Command of elite counterterrorism cops, according to NBC News.
— CNN (@CNN) December 29, 2015
The Critical Response Command and the Hercules team deployed a record number of military-clad officers during the 89th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.
Chief James Waters, who is in charge of counterterrorism operations for the police department, told NBC News “that as crowds enter a frozen zone at 14 points, uniformed officers will inspect bodies and bags with magnetometers and hand wands. Counterterrorism officers with chemical and radiation detectors will be standing by, and a long gun team will be stationed 50 yards away ‘In case anyone tries to breach the entry point.’”
Meanwhile in Pasadena, California police plan an unprecedented level of security for the Rose Bowl. Security measures include more than a dozen armed tactical “rapid-response” teams that will be posted along the parade route, along with dozens of surveillance cameras, bomb-sniffing dogs and radiation-detection devices, according to the Associated Press.
In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will fly surveillance aircraft over the event.
Mark Selby, deputy special agent in charge of the DHS’s investigative bureau in Los Angeles, said no specific credible threat has been made against the Rose Bowl or the Rose Parade.
The unprecedented presence of militarized police and deployment of surveillance technology following the attack in San Bernardino is part of an ongoing effort to acclimate the American people to an ever-encroaching police state.
“Americans will continue to be rendered powerless in the face of militarized police. As police forces across the country continue to be transformed into extensions of the military, Americans are finding their once-peaceful communities transformed into military outposts, complete with tanks, weaponry, and other equipment designed for the battlefield,” writes John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute.
Whitehead predicts 2016 “will bring more of the same” and the national security state will continue to menace Americans with “an overreaching, aggressive, invasive, militarized surveillance state.”