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Amtrak echoes call for vigilance

Associated Press / July 2, 2010

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NEW YORK — Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano liked the New York transit system’s security slogan so much that she launched her own “see something, say something’’ campaign yesterday.

Napolitano announced the vigilance drive, part of a national information-sharing partnership with Amtrak, in Penn Station, one of the world’s busiest train stations.

The slogan was inspired by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s admonition to traditionally mind-your-own-business New Yorkers. Since 2002, posters encouraging, “If you see something, say something,’’ have become a daily sight for New York subway riders.

The phrase took on additional power after the foiled Times Square bomb plot. On May 1, street vendors in Times Square noticed a smoking sport utility vehicle with its blinkers on, engine running, and no one inside, and said something to a police officer.

Police dismantled a crude but dangerous homemade bomb inside the SUV and cleared the square. The vendors were hailed as heroes for taking action.

Napolitano called “If you see something, say something’’ one of the most successful public efforts to date. Security requires the public’s cooperation, she said.

“All play a critical role in increasing awareness and improving preparedness,’’ she said.

Napolitano also swore in John Pistole as administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. He is a former deputy FBI director who was confirmed by the Senate last week to fill the top TSA job.

Napolitano appeared two days after her office issued a threat assessment on mass transit and railroads.

The assessment, obtained by the Associated Press, said there are no specific terrorist plots currently against mass transit in the United States, but that the systems are considered desirable targets.

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