New York calls off subway terror alert

New York officials lowered a security level for the city's subways on Monday after detainees in Iraq thought to be plotting to bomb the nation's biggest transit system indicated the threat lacked credibility.

The scaling back of security came as the attack date cited in a federal warning Sunday, Oct. 9 passed without incident.

"Since the period of the threat now seems to be passing, I think over the immediate future we'll slowly be winding down the enhanced security," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a news conference.

The enhanced security had included more bag searches plus an increase in uniformed and undercover officers patrolling the largest mass transit system in the United States.

Bloomberg, expected to win re-election to a second term on Nov. 8, ordered the special police deployment on Thursday after federal authorities warned that "terrorist operatives" may be planning to attack the subway with remote-controlled bombs hidden in briefcases or baby strollers.

That same bulletin from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security also said experts "have doubts on the credibility of the threat," reports Reuters.

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security, who had raised doubts about the credibility of the threat and had seemed to suggest that the city was overreacting, said little yesterday. A department spokesman, Russ Knocke, said only, "No information has been uncovered to enable the intelligence community to substantiate the threat information."

Asked yesterday about the threat, Mr. Bloomberg said that federal authorities had told the city they were unable to verify it. He said that since the period of the strike was passing, security would be rolled back. But he noted that the city remained at level orange - a higher state of alert than the rest of the country.

"We're going to take every single threat that has any chance of being credible seriously, and do exactly what we did," he said.

Fernando Ferrer, Mr. Bloomberg's Democratic challenger in the race for mayor, issued a statement yesterday saying that the mayor should disclose what, and when, he knew about the threat, and precisely why he acted as he did. Edward Skyler, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, said that during such an extensive investigation, "the mayor doesn't have the luxury of knowing whether the threat will ultimately be determined to be credible or not."

More details emerged about the alleged threat and the investigation into it. One law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because much about the case is classified, said that the three men continue to be interrogated in Iraq, informs the New York Times.


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