Suffolk is one of the new fronts in the war on terror, King saysBy JOHN VALENTI
May 19, 2010
The battlefront in the war on terrorism has shifted to the United States, Rep. Peter King told Newsday on Tuesday - and one of the areas for concern is Suffolk County, he said.
Of the suspicion that Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad picked up cash to finance his plot in a meeting at a Dunkin' Donuts in Ronkonkoma, King said, "I wasn't necessarily surprised that it might have happened in Suffolk."
"Law enforcement has been concerned about Suffolk County for a while now," he said.
Asked if that meant there were terror suspects living in Suffolk, King said: "I'm not saying they're al-Qaida operatives. But there is cause for concern with some of these individuals. They're not violating the law yet, but there is cause for concern because some of their relationships are troubling."
King (R-Seaford), the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security, said he could not be more specific.
But he told Newsday he "would not be surprised to learn" there are many more terror suspects like Shahzad in the United States - and on Long Island, specifically in Suffolk - and said the push by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to seek modifications to the Miranda warning for terror suspects should be "the clearest signal that the government is aware of operatives now in the United States."
A Suffolk County law enforcement source who asked not to be identified described King's concerns about Suffolk as a "fair assessment." The official said there has been some support activity for terrorists on Long Island.
Shahzad, 30, a Pakistan-born U.S. citizen, drove a Nissan Pathfinder into Times Square May 1 packed with ingredients for a makeshift bomb, parking it near the corner of Seventh Avenue and 45th Street shortly before 6:30 p.m., officials say.
Shahzad was arrested May 3 at Kennedy Airport aboard an Emirates airlines flight bound for Dubai.
Authorities continue to question Shahzad and have not yet set an arraignment date.
Calls to the Islamic Association of Long Island in Selden, the Muslim Center of Long Island in Bay Shore and the Long Island Muslim Society in East Meadow were not immediately returned Tuesday.