(MCT) - NYPD Commissioner William Bratton warned of a greater potential for "lone wolf" attacks as he and other officials spoke at a congressional hearing at Ground Zero Tuesday with the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks days away.
Bratton, speaking at the House Committee on Homeland Security hearing, said the city faces a "greater likelihood of attack than we have seen in years," in part because of so-called "lone wolves" seeking to carry out attacks.
"With regard to crime, we just experienced the safest summer in 25 years, with murders and shootings at modern lows," Bratton said at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in lower Manhattan. "But with regard to the current terrorism threat environment, we now face multiple hazards -- 'known wolves and lone wolves.' "
Rep. Peter King, R-Seaford, echoed that, adding that the threat level is "higher than it was before 9/11" for an attack that he said could kill hundreds.
"Then it was al-Qaida operating in a cave, now ISIS is an international operation, using social media, exploiting social media. ... Also, the self-starters at home who are being radicalized over the Internet."
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said an even greater threat than the Islamic State, known as ISIS or ISIL, lurks in the pending nuclear deal with Iran.
Giuliani called the Iranian regime "mass murderers" who are bent on our "death and destruction." He questioned why President Barack Obama isn't calling for regime change in Iran.
"We have to realize we're putting the nuclear button in the hands of mad men," said Giuliani, who called the agreement "frightening" and said the U.S. was "completely out-negotiated."
The hearing marked the first time a congressional hearing has been held at Ground Zero, officials said, and provided a gripping backdrop as the nation prepares to mark the 14th anniversary of the deadly terror attacks on Friday.
The hearing sought to explore the "new generation of terrorists" and included lobbying for Congress to fully fund the extension of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.
King said there are thousands of cops and firefighters suffering from disease due to their work at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11.
"It's looked upon as a New York issue," said King, a committee member who is pushing his colleagues to provide funding. "I just know how difficult it was last time. With all the dysfunction that goes on in Congress, I'm concerned, but I'm also confident we can get it through. But it's gonna be a tough fight."
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told the panel 21 new names were added to a memorial wall recognizing the firefighters who died of illnesses officials say are directly related to their work in the rubble of the towers.
"I'm sad to say that the memorial wall we created will soon be too small because those losses continue to mount," Nigro said.
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