The City Council's Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice services met yesterday to talk about terrorism in New York City.

Speaking at the meeting was FDNY Chief Joseph Pfeifer, NYPD Chief of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, and the Office of Emergency Management's Deputy Commissioner for training Jacob Cooper.

According to the three, the most vulnerable parts of New York City are the subways and high-rise buildings, which are routinely used for training and simulations. Miller spoke about the NYPD's test this summer of the subway system where an odorless, colorless gas was spread by the department.

Miller said the department learned "critical lessons in crossflow as well as how fast and far an agent traveled," but spared the committee specific details because "bad guys" might be listening.

The subways are far from terrorist-proof, however, and the need for increased communication abilities underground was also mentioned by each department. A 2007 plan to improve the underground communication system was rejected, then implemented in 2012, then was acknowledged by former Chief Edward Kilduff to still have gaps in the following years.

Homegrown terrorism was also a concern, and Miller stressed the ability of groups like ISIS to recruit and mobilize New Yorkers to commit acts of terror.

Miller invoked Jose Pimentel and Zale Thompson as examples of how the threat of terror is transforming, though both of those cases are dubious at best. Pimentel was regarded by the FBI as an incompetent stoner who tried to perform a circumcision on himself, and Thompson was likely just a deranged man with a hatchet.

When asked about the shut-down of the Demographics Unit and the NYPD's practice of targeting mosques as potential terrorist cells, Miller said, "The police department most certainly does surveil. Not beginning at mosques, but maybe during the course of an investigation, we will go there."

Miller also testified that 17 terrorist plots have been foiled in New York since 9/11 (one more than the bogus number cited by former commissioner Ray Kelly) and 400 elite Emergency Service Unit officers are currently on the streets, and are trained to respond to any situation within two hours. There are also currently 1,000 counterterrorism and intelligence officers working full-time for the NYPD.

Cooper, the OEM official, reminded the room that average New Yorkers should be prepared, and recommended that all New Yorkers have a "go bag" ready and to stay aware of the Notify NYC program.

Chief Pfeifer argued that the two most important questions are still, "How quickly can we do this?" and "Are we better at it?" He pointed to the successful handling of Ebola thus far, as well as the quick response to the derailed Metro-North train last year as examples of the city's preparedness. He thinks the most successful recent development has been the close coordination between NYPD and FDNY commanders during in emergencies.

Questions about drones, marine rescue, and fire as a weapon were all brought up as future concerns and areas of improvement. Training exercises will continue, with one being conducted at 15 locations this Saturday to test the ability of field personal to vaccinate the public.