WASHINGTON, D.C.After the news of the terrorist bombings in London this morning, the 8:30 a.m. Metro train out of Cleveland Park in the northwest part of this city was barely a quarter full. Commuters experienced what by now have become usual delays, caused not by security problems but by equipment failures on the subway. Washington Metro officials said they were stepping up security with bomb-sniffing dogs and machine-gun-toting cops.
But there were only a handful of unarmed transit cops standing around downtown station platforms, looking totally baffled. At Union Station, there were a couple of metropolitan police. No machine guns. No dogs. The station itself was nearly empty as the trains began disgorging loads of commuters. The area around the White House was serene, with only a couple of uniformed guards talking in the middle of an empty Pennsylvania Avenue. By 9 a.m., the usual rush-hour crowds were jamming the K Street area downtown. There were few cops in evidence.
In the past two terrorist alerts, when small planes wandered into forbidden Washington airspace, the metropolitan police learned about the incidents either after they were over or from the media. If there is an emergency plan for the nations capital, it is very well concealed.