| NEW YORK, March 22
NEW YORK, March 22 The U.S. National Park
Service is relocating security operations for the Statue of
Liberty over the objections of the New York Police Department,
saying on Friday it will move screening to Ellis Island from
Manhattan when the statue reopens on July 4.
The statue has been closed to the public since late October
because of Superstorm Sandy.
The landmark has been presumed to be a potential target
since the hijacked-airliner attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Officials
closed access to the inside of the statue after the attacks and
did not reopen it for almost eight years.
The nearly 4 million tourists a year who visit Liberty
Island, home of the statue in New York Harbor, previously went
through airport-style screening in Manhattan before boarding
ferries. That screening will move to Ellis Island, which sits
next to Liberty Island and is home to an immigration museum.
"The Park Service's decision to reopen the Statue of Liberty
without screening in Manhattan was made against the NYPD's
recommendation and leaves unresolved the vulnerability to attack
on ferry passengers en route to both Liberty and Ellis Islands,"
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said.
The decision to move security operations came after a
lengthy review, said Linda Friar, a spokesperson for the
National Park Service.
The contract for the Manhattan security tent, which was
badly damaged in the hurricane, expires at the end of March.
Even before Sandy hit, the city's Parks and Recreation
Department had asked the Park Service to remove the tent, Friar
The initial security facilities on Ellis Island will be
temporary and the Park Service plans to build a permanent
structure that can handle extreme weather.
U.S. officials announced plans on Tuesday to reopen the
Statue of Liberty to tourists on the Independence Day holiday
after a $59 million project to repair damage on Liberty and
Ellis islands caused by Sandy.
Surging seawater covered 70 percent of Liberty Island and
all of Ellis Island, Friar said.
The museum at nearby Ellis Island, where 12 million
immigrants entered the United States from 1892 to 1954, will
remain closed until further notice.
(Editing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Peter Cooney)