Officials Assessing N.Y. Subway Threat Amid Tightened Security

October 8, 2005

U.S. officials have retained three suspects in the terrorist threat to New York’s subway system, The New York Times reported.

American intelligence and law enforcement officials are continuing to assess what New York officials interpreted as a serious threat and sufficient cause to increase subway security and alert the public to potential danger on Thursday.

Citing an anonymous government official, The Times reported that the three men who have been taken into custody in Iraq trained together in Afghanistan in explosives.

Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly defended their decisions to boost security and go public with the tip.

Officials in New York revealed the threat Thursday. Bloomberg called it the most specific terrorist threat that New York had received to date. The threat reportedly involved the possibility that terrorists would pack a baby stroller with a bomb and that the attack could occur anytime Friday or over the weekend.

“We have done and will continue to do everything we can to protect this city,'” Bloomberg said at a news conference. “We will spare no resource; we will spare no expense.”

But U.S. Homeland Security officials downplayed the threat, saying it’s of “doubtful credibility,” according to The Associated Press.

However, President George W. Bush refused to second-guess what New York authorities did. “I think they took the information we gave and made judgments they thought were necessary,” Bush told reporters.

On Friday, commuters went to work in Manhattan as usual amid beefed-up police presence and bag and briefcase checks at subways, Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Authorities closed part of Penn Station for about an hour on Friday morning when a discarded soda bottle filled with a mysterious green liquid, according to Amtrak officials. The bottle was removed for testing.

Gov. George Pataki on Thursday vowed to call up National Guard troops to assist in patrolling commuter trains and said he would ask Connecticut and New Jersey to help.

New York’s more than 450 subway stations serve an estimated 4.5 million passengers on an average weekday.

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