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Chertoff, speaking at Grand Central Terminal on Feb. 1, said New York would get $153.3 million - nearly half of all Homeland Security funding nationwide - to protect mass transit against terrorism.The sum is a 56 percent increase in such funding for New York over last year.Several New York members of Congress have long protested that the federal agency was sending too much anti-terrorism money to places that were not at high risk for an attack.New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the increased federal money would make possible Operation Torch starting next month, in which groups of six police officers wearing body armor and armed with state of the art MP5 submachine guns and dogs would roam subway stations and their environs, working 12 hour stints in a vigil against terrorists."It's still a dangerous world with numerous groups still trying to find ways to attack us," Chertoff said."New York State has resolutely sought sufficient funding to help us carry out the critical task of securing our homeland," said Gov. Eliot Spitzer. "This increase, in our view, is warranted by the simple reality that the risks we face are greater than those that are faced elsewhere in the nation."Chertoff said the money destined for New York State would also pay for an expansion of anti-terrorism training for law enforcement personnel, installation of security cameras and new bomb-detection equipment as well as an increase in the number of K-9 dog teams to help patrol mass transit."This is great news for New York," said U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)."I hope this is a sign that the Department of Homeland Security and the Bush administration recognize the threat that the New York City region continues to face and incredible strain they impose on our law enforcement agencies and first responders who must maintain constant vigilance. Al Qaeda is undeterred and determined to attack us here at home."U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has been a vigorous critic of the Homeland Security Department and its method of dispensing money nationwide."It is our hope that Homeland Security in the future will continue to send this much-needed money where it is needed most," he said.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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