Officials: ‘Specific, Credible, Unconfirmed’ Terror Threat Against NYC
New York Yankees v Tampa Bay RaysST. PETERSBURG, FL - July 19: Pitcher Bartolo Colon #40 of the New York Yankees starts against the Tampa Bay Rays July 19, 2011 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Updated at 12:20 a.m., Sept. 9, 2011
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — U.S. Officials have confirmed the existence of “specific, credible but unconfirmed” terror threat information related to New York City and Washington D.C. ahead of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security did not release any information about potential targets. CBS News reported that intelligence agencies across the government have picked up a threat stream from overseas — specifically from Pakistan.
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“It’s accurate that there is specific, credible but unconfirmed threat information,” Homeland Security Department spokesman Matt Chandler said in a statement.
Currently, there is a push by the FBI, CIA and others to refute or corroborate the information that officials have.
NEW YORK OFFICIALS ADDRESS THREAT
Thursday night, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and New York FBI Director Janice Fedarcyk held a news conference to address the threat.
Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to “go about your business and just be vigilant.” He said “the best thing we can do is refuse to be intimidated by it.”
When Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden in May, they found a notebook where the leader mentioned a possible U.S. attack on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Investigators are eyeing a vehicle packed with explosives as a potential option, CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey reported.
Kelly said that over the next few days, police officials would increase the size of their patrol and counterterrorism operations. The commissioner said New Yorkers could expect to see an increased presence at area bridges, tunnels and government buildings.
“The public is likely to see vehicle checkpoints throughout the city,” Kelly said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo also weighed in Thursday and said there was no reason to panic.
“All New Yorkers should be cautious and aware as we prepare to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary,” Cuomo said.
CBS NEWS: THREAT AGAINST BRIDGES, TUNNELS
A federal source told CBS News that FBI and intelligence authorities are currently tracking two distinct threat streams — one involving a car bombing threat in New York or Washington and a separate threat against bridges and tunnels in New York. It is unknown if there is a correlation between the two threats.
“We’re going to see a huge increase in motor vehicle checks, bridge and tunnel slowdowns. And it’s going to have a major impact on the way traffic moves,” counterterrorism expert Bob Strang said.
Long Island Rep. Peter King, who is the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said there were very specific facts in this threat.
“I would tell people right now to go about their lives, there’s no need to panic. We don’t know if this threat is real yet. It’s being tracked down,” King said.
Fedarcyk said terror threat information is “sometimes credible” and at other times “lacks credibility.” She also added that even if the information officials have came about six months ago, officials would still tackle it just as aggressively.
“We take all threat reporting seriously. We have taken and will continue to take all steps necessary to mitigate any threats,” she said.
NEW YORKERS TAKING THREAT SERIOUSLY
Many New Yorkers are not taking the latest terror threat lightly.
Sophia Achee told CBS 2’s Hazen Sanchez she was “a little scared,” adding “I hope it doesn’t happen.”
Walter Wells said he’s taking the mayor’s advice and isn’t worrying. He is a street vendor near where the failed Times Square car bomb incident of 2010 took place, but Wells said he feels the city is prepared.
“A lot of times the rapid response teams that we have here. They’re a joy to see, because I know they’re on their job,” Wells said.
NO CHANGE TO PRESIDENT’S SCHEDULE
White House officials said there were no plans to change President Obama’s travel schedule on Sunday in light of the threat. The president is scheduled to mark the 9/11 anniversary with stops at ground zero in Lower Manhattan, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa. He will also deliver remarks Sunday night at a memorial concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
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