Threat to pope ‘disrupted,’ NORAD in NJ skies this week
With Pope Francis' visit to New York and Philadelphia just over a week away evidence of security for the visit with be in the skies over South Jersey as the head of the House Homeland Security Committee says at least one threat has been "disrupted."
North American Aerospace Defense Command will be flying "Falcon Virgo" exercises over the Philadelphia area airspace early Tuesday morning to get familiar with the area.
"These are the kinds of things that we have to make sure we’re sharp for,” Mary McHale of the Continental U.S. Aerospace Defense Region told CBS Philly. “We do ’em for the inauguration; we do ’em for the Super Bowl.”
Drones and radio-controlled model planes are banned during the papal visit. The Ben Franklin Bridge will be closed to traffic starting Friday, Sept. 25, and there will be a zone around Center City Philadelphia closed off to all but those with tickets.
New York Mayor Bill deBlasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton will meet with the FBI on Monday to discuss security, according to CBS New York, and a drill will take place with NYPD officers. The pope's New York visit includes a visit to the United Nations, the 9/11 Memorial and a school in East Harlem plus a procession in Central Park. He will conduct a Mass at Madison Square Garden.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he was briefed by the Secret Service about a threat to the Pope but did not offer any details.
“We are monitoring very closely threats against the pope as he comes into the United States," he said on ABC's "This Week" "We have disrupted one particular case in particular, but as that date approaches, I think we’re all very, being very vigilant to protect him as he comes into the United States.”
Pope Francis is a "passionate man" who likes to wade into crowds and meet people, said McCaul, which presents a "large security risk."
Congressman Bob Brady (D-PA) told 6 ABC he has not heard of the threat.
"If it's supposed to be a classified thing, I don't know why he saying something on national TV, but we don't know nothing about it."
The pope's visit to the United States begins Wednesday, Sept. 23 in Washington D.C. and moves onto New York the next day. The pontiff is scheduled to arrive in Philadelphia on Saturday, September 26.