February 21, 2024

New York gets its first female counterterrorism chief

The country’s largest police department has its first female head of intelligence and counter-terrorism. New York City officials announced Tuesday that Rebecca Weiner will replace John Miller as the police department’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism.

Weiner has a long track record of investigating right-wing extremism, the Islamic State terrorist group, Al Qaeda and other forms of terrorism, including cyber terrorism. She joined the NYPD as an intelligence analyst in 2006 and rose through the ranks to become assistant commissioner for counterterrorism and intelligence under Miller.

Officials said she was instrumental in the development of the NYPD’s Racially and Ethnically Motivated Extremism Squad. The unit targets domestic groups and people who seek to target minorities because of their race or ethnicity, such as neo-Nazis.

Rebecca Weiner was appointed as NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism, in New York, on Tuesday.Chris Moore / MediaPunch/IPx via AP

NBC News first reported that NYPD analysts led by Weiner sent four reports to the US Capitol Police in the days leading up to the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol detailing the threats they were seeing online.

Weiner also helped build the intelligence analysis unit, officials said, which focused on preventing terrorist attacks within the United States and analyzing terrorist attacks abroad. The unit’s work was expanded to analyze shooting and crime trends to help the NYPD better understand crime trends and arrest the offenders most responsible for violence.

In an interview with MSNBC on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Weiner ttalk about it what she saw as her mission.

“Our job is to distinguish signal from noise and figure out what we do with the information, how we can use it to protect our city and make sure our partners in other parts of the country can , around the world, use it in the best way. advantage, too,” she said.

She also said that threats to the US had emerged. “In the last five years, we’ve seen not only a transition from Al Qaeda to ISIS but other actors, such as racially motivated violent extremists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, what we call acceleration.”

Former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton credited Weiner and her staff with helping to stop or prosecute more than 50 attacks targeting the city since 9/11, more than half of them by last 10 years.

Weiner’s grandfather fled Poland before the Nazi invasion, immigrated to the US and worked on the Manhattan Project, which helped develop the atomic bomb. A poster commemorating the laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where her grandfather worked hangs in Weiner’s office in Lower Manhattan.

In a 2021 interview, Weiner said the threats to the city include the public’s lack of trust in government institutions. “Over the past few years, you’ve had a widespread distrust of institutions, of law enforcement, of government that has been reflected in violent extremism, and civil unrest across the country.”

“So we’re still worried about Al Qaeda; we are still concerned about ISIS. Now we are concerned about a whole range of domestic extremist actors as well.”

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