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New York and Washington react to 9/11 threat with practiced seriousness

New York and Washington react to the unconfirmed bomb threat with heightened security amid intelligence from the raid on Osama bin Laden affirming his interest in the 9/11 anniversary.

By Ron SchererStaff writer / September 9, 2011

A couple of police officers ride the shuttle between New York's Times Square and Grand Central Station, Friday, Sept. 9.

Mary Altaffer/AP


New York

Washington put police on 12-hour shifts Friday and New York began searching vehicles approaching the city’s bridges amid unconfirmed intelligence of a terror attack to coincide with the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

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At the same time officials asked members of the public to keep their eyes open for anything unusual, a reminder of the “see something, say something” campaign that has existed for years.

The heightened antiterrorism efforts in New York and Washington followed word Thursday of the unconfirmed plot, which was described as specific and “credible.”

“This is from a single source right now,” says Frank Cilluffo, director of George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute in Washington. “But, at the end of the day you have to take it seriously.”

On Friday, New York police had taken additional measures such as blocking off some of the approaches to Grand Central Station, stopping trucks and vans to search their contents, and increasing patrols. In Washington, police began working 12-hour shifts and said unattended vehicles near bridges and monuments would be towed.

One of the major reasons why law enforcement officials are taking no chances is because of intelligence gleaned from computers and notebooks found in the Pakistan compound where Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces on May 2.

“When you see how fixated Osama bin Laden was on the 10th anniversary, it makes sense to have extra precautions during significant dates and events,” says Mr. Cilluffo.

On Sunday, President Obama plans to visit each of the sites hit on Sept. 11, 2001, the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the field in Shanksville, Pa., where hijacked flight 93 crashed. The White House says the potential security threat will not change his schedule.


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