FBI, law enforcement brace for potential threats during New Year’s Eve bash


An overseas war between Israel and Hamas brought tensions to a boil throughout the U.S., including New York City, where over 1 million people are expected to ring in the new year.

James Smith, assistant director in charge of New York’s FBI Field Office, said there are concerns about international and domestic terrorism and a rise in hate crimes, and law enforcement follows up on all threats.

I would say overall that, yes, there are threats out there, but we are out there to protect the community day in and day out,” Smith told Fox News Digital. 

“That’s our mission – to protect the community of all threats.”

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Inside the FBI New Year’s Eve command post, which includes dozens of law enforcement agencies to protect NYC during the Times Square New Year’s festivities. (FBI)

Smith said the FBI, which is working with dozens of local, state and other federal law enforcement agencies, is ready to pounce on potential threats. 

But it’s just as important that revelers pay attention to their surroundings and follow the adage, “If you see something, say something.”

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“We cannot protect the community without people reporting if there’s a threat or if a potential crime is about to take place,” Smith said.

There will be a massive law enforcement presence in and around Times Square Sunday night into early Monday. Some will be undercover; others will be in tactical gear.

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“We will have a footprint within the Time Square celebration to protect the community,” Smith said. “We’ll have everything from our SWAT element to bomb teams out there working with our partners.”

There’s also a behind-the-scenes command post, where the FBI and dozens of other agencies are monitoring potential threats and crimes as they arise. 

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“The command post is a room filled with various partners, where we’re all communicating with each other on what we’re seeing on the streets,” Smith said. 

“We understand where our people are throughout the event. We understand where there could be some hot spots. I’m sure there’s going to be some demonstrations, or suspicious packages.”

FBI new years command post

The FBI New Year’s Eve command post. (FBI)

Times Square New Year's

Revelers celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square Jan. 1, 2023, in New York City. (Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

That’s why it’s imperative to get the right people to the right spot at the right time, he said.

But the bottom line, Smith said, is he wants everyone to enjoy the event. 

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“Have a good time. Do not worry. We are there to protect you,” said Smith, when asked if he had a message for New Yorkers.

“Only thing I’m asking if you see something, say something. Tell the police officer at the corner or report something if you think something is wrong.”



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