Earlier today, Governor Cuomo called into Time Warner Cable News to discuss the arrest of a Rochester man attempting to support ISIL. A rush transcript of that interview is available below. Audio of the interview is available at: https://soundcloud.com/nygovcuomo/governor-cuomo-discusses-arrest-of-emanuel-lutchman-in-alleged-terror-plot.
Virginia Butler: The Assistant Attorney General for National Security and the U.S. Attorney’s office announced today the arrest of 25-year-old Emanuel Lutchman for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group or ISIL. According to court records, Lutchman claimed to have received direction from an overseas terror group to plan and commit an armed attack on New Year’s Eve. Lutchman allegedly chose a restaurant bar located in Rochester but the specific name and location of that restaurant has not been released. We want to welcome again, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who joins us now by phone with a reaction to this developing story. I guess governor you can say that this is anti-terror efforts in the U.S at work and working.
Governor Cuomo: Yes, the good news is Virginia that law enforcement worked. The federal agencies have done a magnificent job, we have been working with them through something called the Joint Terrorism Task Force where the State Police are a component of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, but it worked. Law enforcement did its job, the U.S Attorney did his job, the FBI did their job and they found this man and they were tracking him for a while. As you mentioned, the plans were for this evening so they executed the arrest and it is sobering news. You know, this year has not been a good year on a lot of levels. We talk about the new normal with climate and extreme weather, that there is this new normal, this new extreme weather pattern. But there is also a new normal when it comes to terrorism. I am afraid that you are going to see this more and more Virginia. You know the internet has opened a portal for hate coming from the Middle East and at one time, it was just there, but one of the downsides of the internet is that it has expedited and facilitated that hate coming right across the oceans and then people access it here. This person became a Muslim, we believe, in state prison. He was in Attica* for robbery at one point, he served time in Attica and became a Muslim, went out became radicalized on the internet and became the proponent of one of these terrorist groups, the ISIL groups, who have pledged allegiance to ISIL and had a specific plan to assassinate people and they talked about it and planned and this is in Rochester. So, its San Bernardino California, its Rochester, New York, which means it can be anywhere and anytime. The challenges of law enforcement have never been greater and it is incumbent upon every citizen to be diligent and responsible, because again, it can be anywhere and anytime.
Virginia Butler: It’s fair to say, governor, that the people in Rochester are shaken, people in Western New York are shaken, glad there has been an arrest, but also shaken by the fact that these lone-wolf radicalized people are out there. You can’t really offer great assurances but you can tell people around the state what’s going on tonight and days forward to try and work these events.
Governor Cuomo: The good news is New York is no stranger to these types or situations, right? This is the state of the 9/11 attack. We had terrorism attacks before 9/11. People forget that 9/11 was the second bombing at the World Trade Center. My father was governor for the first bombing of the World Trade Center and the governor’s office was in the World Trade Center at the time. So, we have had decades of experience when it comes to fighting terrorists. The fight has become harder, the terrorist energy has metastasized in a negative way. They have become more sophisticated on the internet, etc. But there is no state that has more expertise, more experience, and is working harder at finding these people than this state and today shows again, how effective law enforcement is. So, that’s the good news. But again, governor of New York and I’ve always been 100 percent straight with the people of this state. This is something that is going to be an ongoing challenge – I believe that – we’re up to it and were ready for it, but it’s something everybody has to keep in mind. And it’s a different way of seeing the world and that is true. Just the way we’ve adjusted to weather, seven feet of snow in buffalo, right, who would have believed? What we went through, this is part of the new world order. But we’re up to it, but it’s going to take every citizen to do their part also. But that’s really the good news. Because there is no people on this planet who come together like New Yorkers do. They say we’re tough. We’re tough. But we are also a loving kind, compassionate people. We believe in society and community. And every citizen should remain vigilant. If you see something say something. Keep your eyes open and notify law enforcement and if we look out for one another, we are going to be just fine here.
* Wyoming Correctional Facility, in the town of Attica, New York.