Last night Mayor Bloomberg addressed the city, along with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, in a press conference after officials announced a “specific, credible, but unconfirmed” threat of an attack in New York City or Washington D.C. timed to the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Though officials had already been on alert due to the anniversary, security has been further increased, including police checkpoints around the city, officers working 12-hour instead of 8-hour shifts, increased bag checks on the subway, bomb sweeps in parking garages, the towing of illegally parked cars, and a “closer eye” being kept on bridges and tunnels, among other things.
The threat, which again is being called “specific” and “credible” and from one source, not corroborated or confirmed, may have involved car or truck bombs. According to the New York Times, American intelligence agencies are pursuing overseas leads to figure out how serious the threat, possibly ordered by new Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, might be.
One law enforcement official said the initial intelligence report said that at least three suspects in a reported plot, one of them an American citizen, left Afghanistan and entered the United States by air last month. Intelligence agencies have not confirmed the report or identified those involved, the official said.
At the press conference, there was little specificity about the possible threat, though Mayor Bloomberg said he would take the subway (and, according to reports, he did) this morning, and also reiterated “see something, say something,” and that New Yorkers should not be cowed or intimidated by this. Further, 9/11 ceremonies will go on as planned, he said.
Matt Chandler, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman, reminded us that a notebook seized from Osama bin Laden’s compound mentioned the planning of an attack pegged to the 10-year anniversary of September 11.
We’re seeing a lot of tweets that indicate there is indeed a pretty major NYPD presence out for morning commutes…Let us know what you see. (Note that an NYPD investigation at 34th and 6th/Herald Square means the B, D, F, and M trains are currently all bypassing the station in both directions.) Update: Train service has resumed with residual delays.
Update 2: The Daily has posted a joint intelligence bulletin issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Possible attack methods and targets are listed as “vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices” (like what Faisal Shahzad attempted to use in Times Square), as well as attacks with small-arms, explosive devices, and poisons. The bulletin urges counterterrorism officials and the private sector to remain alert.