Senate Passes Bills to Protect New Yorkers From Terrorist Activity

March 16, 2016

Measures Address Cyberterrorism, Terrorist Recruitment, Financial Support, and Threats Made to Police Officers

The New York State Senate today passed four bills to protect New Yorkers from several types of terrorist and criminal activities. The legislation strengthens the state’s existing laws dealing with cyberterrorism, terrorist recruitment, financial support for terrorist activities, and threats rooted in terrorism that are made against police officers.  

Cyberterrorism is a pervasive and rapidly expanding threat, with New York State particularly at risk due to its status as a global hub of international business and commerce. A measure (S3404) sponsored by Senator Thomas Croci (R, Sayville) would create a new crime for when a person intends to cause widespread financial harm or commits a larceny offense against more than 10 people using a computer or related technology. It also prohibits the use of cyberterrorism to cause mass injury or damage, or to intimidate, coerce, or influence a civilian population or government.

Another bill (S2942) sponsored by Senator Croci would increase criminal penalties for soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism. One of the biggest sources of funding for terrorist organizations is through money laundering and credit card fraud and this measure would help deter and penalize those who financially support terrorism. 

Senator Croci, Chairman of the Senate’s Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, said, “ISIS has had two years, hundreds of millions of dollars, the sanctuary and the ability to plan, train and recruit for attacks on the U.S. The FBI Director, as early as last spring, requested state and local partners help in this fight which will occupy our lives for years to come. This bold package of legislation is one the most impactful actions our state government can take to protect New York – the number one terrorist target in the world. I'd like to thank my partners in the Senate, Senators Marcellino and Gallivan, in joining me in this fight against terrorism in New York State.”

Terrorist organizations are in a perpetual search to recruit new members both in the United States and abroad. A bill (S455) sponsored by Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset) would help prevent and punish those who engage in recruitment activity to get new members that will carry out terrorist acts. The measure creates the crime of terrorism recruitment when a person recruits, solicits, requests, commands, importunes or otherwise attempts to cause another person to engage in terrorist activities.

Senator Marcellino said, “We have a responsibility to hold accountable those extremist groups who recruit individuals for acts of terrorism. This growing trend requires an immediate response and this bill seeks to do just that, effectively deterring terrorist recruitment and punishing those who seek to use others for their heinous schemes.”

As communities throughout the country work to identify and prevent attacks, terrorist threats and violence have frequently targeted police officers. In January, a police officer in Philadelphia was shot by a man claiming to support ISIS, followed by a terrorist threat to harm NYPD officers. Last month, another two New York cops were injured by a man with suspected terrorist ties. 

A bill (S5349) sponsored by Senator Patrick Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) would strengthen existing penalties by creating a new crime when a terrorist threat is made against a police officer.

Senator Gallivan said, “The fight against terrorism is ongoing and we know that police officers, by the very nature of their jobs, are frequent targets of terroristic threats. By increasing the penalty for those who make such threats, we not only deter these despicable acts but also hold those responsible accountable.” 

Senator Martin Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) said, “Today, the New York State Senate has sent a clear message that protecting New Yorkers remains a top priority. These anti-terror bills will give law enforcement and prosecutors the legal tools they need to prosecute terrorists and place them behind bars where they can do no harm. New York remains a primary target for terrorists and we must remain ever vigilant in our efforts to prevent another attack.”

The bills will be sent to the Assembly.

Senators Involved