Every city across the country should be doing the same.
As the global war on terror approaches the start of its eighth year, the NYPD says it has never been more prepared – but also warns that the city can never let its guard down. In a two-part series, Daily News reporter Patrice O’Shaughnessy looks at the terror threat in New York – and around the world. Sunday’s installment focuses on an NYPD undercover officer who dug deep into the potential terrorists in our midst.
A young undercover city detective spent four years in the shadowy world of terrorist wanna-bes – taking part in jihadist discussions and training in parks in the dead of night – to get a handle on the homegrown threat.
At great personal risk, he participated in everything from prayers at a mosque to martial arts training under cover of darkness to watching jihadist videos, with many of the activities laced with talk of killing, according to a source familiar with the undercover’s investigations.
His experiences paint a vivid portrait of the potential for local terror. While the picture is in no way indicative of the city’s Muslim population as a whole, it provides insight into its most radical element.
The detective spent his time interacting with informal groups of youths and men who shared extremist views – and his experiences illustrate what police say is the potential for radicalization of some elements in the community.
He reported that after prayers at a neighborhood mosque, there were often private classes that included discussions about bombing different areas.
The men discussed violent jihad in bookstores, private houses and on buses en route to paintball and shooting-range events.
He was invited to join in “bonding” activities like working out at a gym and martial arts training in parks at night, during which the group discussed ideological justifications for killing Westerners.
He also watched military movies and jihadist videos with groups of young men in private homes. During one such evening, one man got so excited he punched a wall.