President Obama’s assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism met at the White House today with New York City leaders two days before the commander in chief flies into JFK for a DNC fundraiser.
Lisa Monaco sat down this afternoon with New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, the White House said, to “discuss strengthening federal, state, and local coordination on counterterrorism issues as well as the U.S. government’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.”
At the end of last month, Iraq’s prime minister warned that his country uncovered intelligence indicating ISIS planned to attack subway systems in New York and Paris.
On the Ebola front, JFK became the first airport to launch the administration’s enhanced screening procedures for passengers coming from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone.
“On counterterrorism, they reviewed threat streams overseas associated with al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and the Khorasan Group, and discussed measures to take to better protect the U.S. homeland from potential threats posed by these groups as well as homegrown violent extremists,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting. “They specifically noted the threat from foreign fighters, including Western passport-holders, and the comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to counter it.”
“On Ebola, they reviewed the status of additional airport screening measures that were implemented at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport on Saturday and that will be rolled out later this week at Newark and other domestic airports. They also reviewed ongoing efforts to prepare hospitals and healthcare workers nationwide, including in New York City, to identify and treat Ebola patients safely and effectively.”
New York will be Obama’s last stop on a fundraising tour that begins Wednesday in New Jersey and swings through Connecticut and Rhode Island before Thursday’s DNC event on Long Island.
Last week at an interagency Ebola preparedness meeting, De Blasio said the city “is vigilant by our nature.”
“We know the kinds of challenges we face. Everyday there are a number of us who focus on the question of terrorism. That has created a vigilance in this city over years. It is a 24/7 reality,” the mayor said. “So the idea of having to be ready for something very challenging is not new to us. It’s what we do as New Yorkers. It’s particularly what this city government does and what all our partner agencies do.”
“We’ve faced terrorism. We’ve faced natural disasters. We now face the possibility of being affected by a pandemic. But the fact is, all of those other moments prepared us to handle whatever is thrown at us.”
In the White House press briefing, spokesman Josh Earnest didn’t elaborate on Monaco’s meeting with the New York officials.
Obama was attending a meeting on ISIS at Andrews Air Force Base this afternoon, followed by a DCCC fundraiser in Virginia this evening.