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NYC officials: New Islamic State video is marketing fear

November 19, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — A newly released Islamic State group video that briefly depicts images of Times Square is an advertisement for the terrorist organization meant to market fear, city officials said Thursday.

Police officials said the video released Wednesday uses old footage of busy Manhattan streets to threaten an attack in what New York City’s mayor called “an attempt at intimidation.”

“There is no credible or specific threat against New York City,” Bill de Blasio said at a City Hall news conference. “That video was simply boilerplate that (the Islamic State group) uses to attract attention.”

John Miller, who heads the New York Police Department’s intelligence and counterterrorism bureaus, said in a TV interview that members of the Islamic State group are sophisticated marketers.

“What you saw last night was a commercial. It’s meant to sell a product. The product is fear,” he said on NBC’s “Today” show. “Could it happen here? Of course it could. But that’s because it could happen anywhere. Are we better prepared here than most, if not all, other places? The answer to that is yes.”

The video was released just a week before the city goes into full holiday mode with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade followed by the Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center. These and other events attract tens of millions of visitors each year.

At a Wednesday evening press conference in Times Square, police Commissioner William Bratton said the video appeared to be “hastily produced.”

“Be aware, but do not be afraid,” he said. “The NYPD will protect you.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that he directed state agencies to “enhance their preparedness” after the Paris attacks, which killed 129 people last week.

“Remember that the terrorists’ goal is to let fear win — New Yorkers never have, and we never will,” he said.

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