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Times Square FBI Worked Around The Clock On New Year’s Eve


January 1, 2011 - Long before the ball dropped last night and well before the crowds began to gather to ring in the New Year in Times Square, members of the FBI’s New York Office (NYO) were working around the clock to ensure it really was a happy New Year’s Eve.    

The safety and security of the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, which draws an estimated one million spectators and more than a billion viewers watching worldwide, is a top priority for the NYO.  

The NYO deployed hundreds of personnel including agents, analysts, and professional staff representing squads across the entire office to assist with security efforts. Working with our law enforcement partners, the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) coordinated intelligence while other personnel carried out security operations throughout the night.


Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk said, “We are constantly working to help keep this city safe. At high profile events, like New Year’s Eve, the FBI works tirelessly to prevent and thwart any possible attacks. We worked closely with our law enforcement partners and as we look back on the fact that last night was only filled with good memories, we can say job well done.” 

Many of the teams used in last night’s operation are part of the FBI NYO’s Cyber/Special Operations Division, which provides operational, investigative, and infrastructure support to the NYO and is overseen by Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Mary E. Galligan.   

Reflecting on last night’s operations, SAC Galligan said, “It’s important for our teams to be prepared for the worst.  While most of the world is looking to celebrate the New Year, we, at the FBI, were working to keep the event secure from any threats. We have a great team who put in an immense amount of planning to make sure the city could celebrate.” 

Teams on hand to respond to any threat or incident that may occur included members of the Crisis Management Unit (CMU), Special Events Management Unit (SEMU), Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), Evidence Response Team (ERT), Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT), Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Special Agent Bomb Technicians (SABTs), Crisis Negotiations (CNU), Operational Medicine, and the Office of Public Affairs (OPA). 


Managing all of the FBI’s activities that night took place in the JTTF’s Joint Operation Center, often referred to as the JOC, and the JTTF’s Mobile Command Post.   The JOC is a special operations center located in an undisclosed location open only during a crisis situation or for special events that require additional coordination between entities. The Mobile Command Post, a smaller, portable version of the JOC, can be set up anywhere in the city for on-site coordination.

Last night the Mobile Command Post was positioned in the vicinity of Times Square to be at the ready. The two centers coordinated communication for the teams around the city and provided situational awareness to management and leadership throughout the night. In addition, the centers hosted briefings for all those involved.  Running the Mobile Command Post were Assistant Special Agents in Charge (ASACs) Stephen Bucar and Amy Pickett.   

ASAC Bucar said, “Last night demonstrated our readiness and capabilities; most of New York FBI assets were out across the city, ready to respond to whatever surfaced. “ ASAC Pickett followed with “Communication plays an important role and the modern equipment we provide enables the FBI to maintain instant communication with all of our law enforcement partners.” Working in Times Square, Special Agent Bomb Technician Pete Licata said, “Our bomb techs have done this before and while we use the same basic response protocol each year, we also make refinements and adjustments as necessary. 

Playing a key role last night as a principle intelligence and information sharing mechanism was the JTTF, which has a long history of partnering with the New York Police Department (NYPD), agencies from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as representatives from other federal, state and local law enforcement.  In addition to providing support for special events like New Year's Eve, the JTTF runs down any and all terrorism leads, develops, and investigates cases and proactively identifies threats to the New York area and the nation. 


Speaking about the JTTF’s role in the New Year’s events, Special Agent in Charge of the Counterterrorism Division Greg Fowler said, “The New York FBI JTTF is deployed throughout the city and surrounding area to identify and prevent any potential acts of terrorism.  “We are in communication with other FBI field offices and representatives around the world, monitoring ongoing operations and intelligence streams relevant to the New York City area.  We are working hand-in-hand with the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies to make sure that every lead is exhaustively investigated and every threat, real or potential, is addressed.” 

Speaking about intelligence efforts for events like New Year’s Eve, SAC for the Intelligence Division James Trainor, Jr. said, “Intelligence plays a key role in determining the severity of threats, but it’s also a team effort, particularly on nights like New Year’s Eve. We work closely with the Counterterrorism Division within the New York Office and the NYPD to disrupt any plans before an attack can begin.

"While the communication between law enforcement agencies is critical, in today's fast paced media environment, it's important to monitor social media in the event of a crisis or threat. The FBI's Public Affairs Team kept the JOC apprised of fast breaking events in the news,” said Special Agent Richard Kolko.  

After the clock struck midnight and 2011 officially began, FBI teams across the city, as well as staff in both the JOC and Mobile Command Post, wrapped up operations and post briefings commenced. While the two operation centers were only opened temporarily for the New Year’s Eve celebration, the New York FBI will continue to work to combat the most dangerous criminal and security threats facing our country.

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