New York City is ramping up security in light of a “specific, credible threat” of a terrorist attack — possibly involving car bombs at bridges and tunnels in New York and Washington, D.C. — that’s linked to the 9/11 anniversary, officials announced Thursday.
The threat was unconfirmed, however, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, urging calm, suggested that New Yorkers be extra vigilant this weekend and report anything suspicious to 311.
“We’ve done everything that we could possibly do [to prepare for an attack],” Bloomberg assured New Yorkers Thursday night during a news conference. “We have the world’s best police department… We also have a public that is not going to be cowed.”
New Yorkers should expect to see more heavily armed cops, increased random bag searches and vehicle checkpoints throughout the city this weekend.
Janice Fedarcyk, assistant director of the FBI’s New York office, declined to give details, including how the plot came to the government’s attention.
News reports said that at least three individuals — one of whom may be a U.S. citizen — flew into the U.S. last month and planned to use vehicles to launch an attack, possibly at bridges and tunnels in New York City or Washington D.C. Early reports indicated a set of missing trucks could have been related to the threat, but those reports were knocked down.
“There is enough information … to give us enough belief that we need to take this seriously," Fedarcyk said.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the threat Thursday morning, a White House official told amNewYork, and he was updated on it throughout the day.
According to the official, the feds have already “significantly enhanced” security in advance of the anniversary, and Obama told counterterrorism officials to redouble their efforts in response to the "credible but unconfirmed information."
Bloomberg said that while New Yorkers should be on heightened alert, they should go about their normal routines tomorrow.
“Go about your business as you normally would, but just be vigilant,” Bloomberg said, adding that he planned to ride the subway in the morning. “The best thing we can do to fight terror is to refuse to be intimidated by it.”
The NYPD had already planned to increase security around the city this weekend to thwart any attacks during the anniversary of the tragic day. The MTA said it was also upping its security across the system.
(With Tim Herrera)