NYPD Terrorism Expert Mitchell Silber Warns Iran's First Target Is 'Essentially' New York

As tensions continue to rise in the Middle East, there are increasing concerns over a potential attack by Iran and some experts believe New York City could be the number one target.

The NYPD's director of intelligence analysis Mitchell Silber warns, "Iran is the subject of the vast majority of our discussions right now. This, right now, is a front-burner issue. I hesitate to say it’s No. 1, because we don’t want to ignore the other threats, but right now, it’s essentially No. 1."

In an editorial for the Wall Street Journal, Silber detailed the dangerous effects that could develop in light of the escalating conflict involving Iran's nuclear program and mounting fears of an imminent war between Iran and Israel. Silber says that New York, with its large Jewish population, is an "increasingly attractive target" and points to the presence of Hezbollah and terrorism supporters in the city and surrounding areas.

Recalling various terrorism-linked, post September 11th incidents, Silber concludes, "The NYPD must remain vigilant in attempting to detect and disrupt any attack by Iran or its proxies. Anything less would be abdicating our duty to protect New York City and its residents."

The NYPD has recently come under fire for its surveillance of Muslim communities, which has prompted civil liberty groups around the country to demand for independent inspectors to monitor NYPD activities.

In late January, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was widely criticized after it was revealed the NYPD's training program utilized a controversial, anti-Muslim movie, "The Third Jihad" in order to instruct nearly 1,500 officers enlisted in the counter-terrorism program.

Mayor Bloomberg blasted the use of the movie as "terrible judgment," but Muslim groups went further and demanded for Kelly's resignation. Muslim cleric Talib Abdur-Rashid pointed to the NYPD's hypocrisy and said, "Terrorism is an evil that must be eliminated, but one cannot fight wrong with wrong."

Several Muslim leaders boycotted the mayor's annual interfaith breakfast in December because of the NYPD's continued spying on mosques and Muslim neighborhoods throughout the city.

However, despite detailed investigations into the department's spying program, a majority of New Yorkers believe that the NYPD has acted appropriately in investigating Muslims. Even more believe that the Police Department has been effective in combating terrorism.