Funding secured for second New York City protection ring

An antiterrorism system featuring chemical-agent sensors and other high-tech security devices is expected to encircle midtown New York City by 2011.

The security ring, similar to one currently in place in lower Manhattan, is being supported by $24 million in funding from the U.S. Homeland Security Department.

Lower Manhattan's security ring is modeled after London's so-called "Ring of Steel," and involves cameras and license-plate readers that relay data and images to a command site in the Financial District.

Midtown has already been the target of two failed terrorist plots - one at the Herald Square subway station and one at the Citigroup Center.

An additional $40 million in federal funds are still being sought by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to finish preparing the system's detection program.

The call for this second protection system for New York comes at a time when a special commission lead by former Senator Jim Talent has announced that a biological attack should be expected somewhere in the world within the next five years.

The Department of Homeland Security has envisioned a scenario for New York City wherein millions of citizens could be exposed to anthrax with as many as half a million dying. The attack would work by terrorists using a shelled truck and a cold-fogger to spread anthrax.

The security ring could aid in combating or tracking such an attack by scanning license plates and taking photos of all traffic entering and exiting the midtown area.