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Experts: NYC vulnerable to terrorism, but steps being taken

(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

We got lucky — this time.

With a fast-developing probe finding the Times Square car bombing has international ties, New Yorkers were faced again with a familiar reality: There’s only such much we can do to protect Gotham.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg told ABC News that while we’ll “keep doing the basics ... in the end, we were lucky.”

“If you close Times Square to traffic they'll just move somewhere else," Bloomberg told Diane Sawyer. “The bottom line is you have to continue to let people come and go.”

Authorities were investigating two Pakistanis, one a naturalized American who recently returned from Pakistan, ABC News reported.

Security experts Monday emphasized that there is plenty New York can - and is — doing to stay safe.

“Nothing is a silver bullet … but over the last few years we’ve made tremendous strides in the level of security in the city,” said Sal Lifrieri, the city’s former director of security and intelligence.

The plot could have been “well-organized and poorly-executed,” Lifrieri said.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) called on federal officials to immediately provide more funding to support city security, including boosting stalled efforts to expand a ring of surveillance cameras to midtown between 34th and 59th streets.

The United Kingdom has done far more than the U.S. to rig cameras in its cities, which has been helpful in solving crimes, said Robert McCrie, a professor of security management at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In contrast, the NYPD appealed to the public Monday for any video leading up to the discovery of the bomb in an abandoned Nissan Pathfinder.

The NYPD has made big improvements in gathering intelligence from foreign countries and training officers to recognize suspicious behavior, Lifrieri said. Equally important, he said, is the role the public has played in reporting odd occurrences — such as the two street venders that summoned police to the smoldering Pathfinder.

Many New Yorkers Monday said they were resigned to living in a state of insecurity, and welcomed any additional policing — within reasonable limits.

“If they start searching my underwear on the train then that is too much security,” said James Jackson, 49, a Queens resident.

(Taneish Hamilton contributed to this story)


Among other developments yesterday:
* The registered owner of the SUV sold it for $ 1,300 in cash on Craigslist three weeks ago, law enforcement officials said.

* The White House referred to the case as terrorism for the first time

* The Feds announced they’d take command of the probe

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