Osama Bin Laden: Los Angeles Police Vigilant Despite Death of World's Most Reviled Terrorist
Read how one Middle East expert says we should indeed be prepared for blowback -- here.
The LAPD is keeping its guard up despite President Obama's world-shaking announcement that terrorist Osama Bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan.
Assistant Commanding Officer Blake Chow, the department's counterterrorism commander, told the Associated Press that police will keep a close eye on intelligence chatter for any signs of L.A. connections.
The idea here is that Muslim extremists could plan reprisals in the wake of Bin Laden's death.
Likewise L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca told KTLA News tonight that locals should remain vigilant and look out for possible revenge attacks.
The news of the terror leader's death spread across L.A. tonight with not quite as much glee as in Washington, D.C., where it appeared spring break was repeated outside the White House and along Pennsylvania Avenue, with people literally hanging from trees and waiving flags.
In New York news footage showed jubilant Americans gathering around firefighters in Times Square.
The Los Angeles Times reported that cheers broke out at a downtown L.A. bar.
In West L.A. an "Osama Bin Laden Can Suck It" party broke out in a residential neighborhood.
Celebrants gathered outside the Westwood Federal building late Sunday, according to ABC7. Footage showed people lined up along Wilshire Boulevard.
The announcement of Bin Laden's demise came to us through an unusual Los Angeles Fire Department alert at 8:29 p.m:
Presidential Announcement on 'National Security Matter': We've embedded the live NBC video feed ...
White House President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton get an update on Bin Laden operation yesterday.
Later Sunday L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa stated:
Tonight, we owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the brave men and women who serve under our flag around the world, as well as to our Commander in Chief for his unwavering leadership.
This announcement tonight by President Obama that Osama bin Laden has been killed is indeed historic, but we must continue to be vigilant and remain on guard against those that still seek to harm us.
Gov. Jerry Brown issued this statement:
Tonight, Americans can be grateful that President Obama brought bin Laden to justice. Our friends as well as our adversaries throughout the world can be assured of America's resolve in combating terrorism and protecting the values of democracy and freedom.
In an televised announcement Obama warned that " ... his death does not mark the end of our effort. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad."
Even before 9/11, terrorists, including the foiled millennium bomber, have had Los Angeles in their sites.
Late Sunday the U.S State Department issued an "alert" to Americans abroad:
Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstration.
Bin Laden was killed in a firefight with American forces in Pakistan.
Obama said U.S. agents had been tracking Bin Laden since August.
Politically, this could be an early "October surprise" in favor of the Democrats for the upcoming presidential race. Although we hear Donald Trump is already asking for Bin Laden's death certificate.
Update: LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and Sheriff Lee Baca were holding an 11 a.m. press conference regarding security measures in the area.
Despite reports that LAX was on high alert, Airport Police Chief George R. Centeno told City News Service "LAX is always on alert:"
While we don't have any direct threat as a result of recent events, we will continue to provide infrastructure protection and high visibility law enforcement and security protection to the many passengers who travel through the airport every day.
We will continue to monitor global events and stay in contact with our federal partners as the situation evolves through the next 24 to 48 hours.
Update No. 2: L.A. city Councilman Eric Garcetti said at today's conference that "hardened targets" such as Staples Center (ahead of tonight's Lakers playoff game), Dodger Stadium, the ports and, indeed, LAX, would see tighter security:
Remember -- and we want to underscore this, too -- look for behavior. It is suspicious behavior, not suspicious-looking people ...
-Chief Beck urged folks to call 877=A-THREAT if they see anything suspicious. He repeated the mantra, "When you see something, you must say something."
Update No. 3: The Los Angeles Fire Department issued a statement Monday congratulating the U.S. troops that took down Bin Laden:
The Los Angeles Fire Department would like to express their appreciation to the United States Military and Intelligence Community in conducting a successful operation and the news of Osama bin Laden's death.
The members of our Department hope that those who lost a family member or friend in the September 11 attacks can find some closure from this news. Members of the LAFD have never forgotten the civilians or the 343 members of the FDNY who so bravely lost their lives on that horrific day. Having sent over 100 members of our Department to assist in the efforts at Ground Zero, we have seen first hand the devastation that can be caused by the acts of terrorism.
First posted at 9:55 p.m. Sunday, May 1.