Local and state vigilance following terror attacks abroad - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Local and state vigilance following terror attacks abroad

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State Homeland Security and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Tuesday that vigilance remains a top priority given the latest terrorist attack abroad.

New Orleans is a place that is a people magnet by its very nature.

'We have major events like the Jazz Fest and we have the French Quarter Fest and we have Mardi Gras,” Landrieu said.

So as terrorists strike again in Europe, New Orleans officials pay serious attention.

"We don't have any threats of a terrorists attack that we're aware of, it is something that we're always working on,” Landrieu said to members of the news media only hours after the attacks in Belgium.

New Orleans is a port city, and cargo moving through the sprawling port is critical to the nation’s economy. 

"The Port of New Orleans is always vigilant and works closely with our federal and state partners. However, our alert status has not changed,” a port spokesman said.

Louis Armstrong International Airport said it does not discuss its security plans.

Louisiana’s Office of Homeland Security said its Fusion Center is constantly looking for signs or trends that would signal problems here, and that it is in contact with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

"Oh, it could happen here, they're in this country, there are supporters and members of ISIS in this country. The FBI through its Joint Terrorism Task Force across the nation is on top of this,” said former New Orleans FBI Chief Jim Bernazzani. 

ISIS claimed responsibility for the carnage in Belgium.

“ISIS is not stupid. I think they're taking advantage of the refugee crisis in the European Union, putting their people under cover as refugees,” said Bernazzani.

Bernazzani, who was heavily involved in the nation’s stepped up anti-terror efforts following 9/11 was asked whether ISIS could send terrorists into the U.S. through the southern border.

"Some may come in on a business Visa, some may come across illegally the problem with coming across illegally you now have an Achilles' heel, a chink in your armor in that you have engaged in criminal activity and it gives the authorities to put it in the hook,” he said.

Landrieu said recently the city engaged in an exercise with the Defense Department to better prepare to respond to terrorism should it occur locally.

"If and when we see a threat, or know of a threat we'll respond accordingly, but at the end of the day it goes really to the issue that we really talking about we need more police officers, we need more federal agents, we need more people working on what are potential threats, not only for terrorism, but for violent street crime, as well,” he said.

Bernazzani joins state and local law enforcement to urging everyone to keep their eyes open for suspicious activity.

“There has been a statement made by the leadership of ISIS that they're going to bring Bagdad to Western Europe, Australia and the United States and so we have to take them at their word,” said Bernazzani.

"I'm hoping that everything will remain safe. We're on it, and of course need people to help us,” said Landrieu.

Efforts that will hopefully spot a terrorist plot before it can get off the ground.

"Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the folks from Belgium,” said Landrieu.

The state has the See Something, Send Something app that can be downloaded for free. Also you can call the FBI at 816-3000, or dial 911 to report unusual activity.

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