Friday, July 07, 2006

Score One For The FBI - Zero for the NYT

Traffic streams past the New York entrance of the Holland Tunnel Friday, July 7, 2006 in New York. Law enforcement officials say authorities have disrupted planning by foreign terrorists for an attack on New York City tunnels. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

The FBI, monitoring internet "chat rooms", nabs a plot to compromise New York's underwater tunnels to Manhattan Island.

Boy, it’s a good thing that the New York Times didn't get wind of this, otherwise they would have been able to shut down the distribution of the newspaper off of the island for a long time! They're slip'n ... they just must be asleep at the wheel.

Excerpts from the AP via Yahoo! News -

FBI disrupts New York City tunnel plot
By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer - 24 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Authorities have disrupted planning by foreign terrorists for an attack on New York City tunnels, two law enforcement officials said Friday.

FBI agents monitoring Internet chat rooms used by extremists learned in recent months of the plot to strike a blow at the city's economy by destroying vital transportation networks, one official said.

Lebanese authorities, acting on a U.S. request, have arrested one of the alleged plotters, identified as Amir Andalousli, the other official said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still under way.

A senior Lebanese security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the suspect was arrested a month ago. He said his real name is as Assem Hammoud, and that the native of Beirut admitted to the plot.

"Hammoud is a member of Al-Qaida and he confessed to this (plot) information frankly and without coercion," the Lebanese security official said.

One U.S. official said other arrests in the plot had been made overseas, and not all were in Lebanon. The official would not say how many people are believed to be involved.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said, "This is one instance where intelligence was on top of its game and discovered the plot when it was just in the talking phase."

The planning for the tunnel attacks was first reported by the New York Daily News in its Friday editions, the first anniversary of the attacks on the London transportation system that killed 52 people.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said that federal law enforcement and New York police have been monitoring a plot to attack New York's mass transit system for at least eight months.

"There was nothing imminent, but it was being monitored for long period of time," said King, who said he has received regular intelligence briefings on the alleged plot as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

King said he had been unable to publicly disclose the plot because to do so would risk the investigation.

"This is ongoing, that's why I've said nothing about it until now," King said. "It would have been better if this had not been disclosed."

The Daily News reported that the plotters wanted to blow up the Holland Tunnel, the southernmost link between Manhattan and New Jersey, in the hopes of flooding New York's financial district. The desired effect would be akin to the flooding that ravaged New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the newspaper said.
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Excerpts from AP -

ADDS PATH train tunnels; locates all major river crossings from Manhattan. Image Credit: AP Graphic

FBI: Thwarted plot involved 'martyrdom'
By PAT MILTON, Associated Press Writer - Sat Jul 8, 12:59 PM ET

NEW YORK - The terrorist plot, in the words of one FBI official, involved "martyrdom and explosives": suicide bombers who would attack train tunnels used by tens of thousands of commuters in an effort to bring death and flooding to lower Manhattan.

Eight suspects had hoped to pull off the attack in October or November, federal officials said. But federal investigators working with their counterparts in six other countries intervened before the suspects could travel to the United States and become a more serious threat, officials said Friday.

Initial reports said the suspects — including an al-Qaida loyalist arrested in Lebanon and two others in custody elsewhere — wanted to attack the Holland Tunnel, a major thoroughfare that carries cars beneath the Hudson River and into Manhattan.

But officials said the group, with five suspects still at large, had specifically mentioned only the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation train tunnels, which carry more than 215,000 passengers each weekday between New York and New Jersey.

"This is a plot that involved martyrdom and explosives," said FBI Assistant Director Mark J. Mershon.

New York's transportation system has emerged as a potential terrorist threat several times over the years. A June book by journalist Ron Suskind highlighted a reported plot by al-Qaida to kill thousands by spreading cyanide gas in the subway. In May, a man was convicted of plotting to blow up a bustling subway station.

Associated Press writers Pat Milton in New York; Lara Jakes Jordan, Katherine Shrader and Mark Sherman in Washington, D.C.; and Sam F. Ghattas in Beirut, Lebanon, contributed to this report.


Anonymous said...

If NYC is a constant target, why did DHS cut funds to it by 40% ?

ecj said...

Do you think that they want to cut the distribution and circulation of the Times as well?

You are exactly right, NYC is a target, and those terrorists want to get the attention of the world media as well.

If you have ever been to New York you know that the media district for "the world" is in about a four square block area. We know from our experience just as casual observers that reporters don't really want to travel far from their station/location to "get" the story.