New York City officials have known since last weekend about the most specific terror threat in recent years: to bomb the city’s subway system. The New York Times reports that they have been struggling to balance coflicting demands: informing the public while also complying with requests from federal intelligence officials to sit on the information while they pursued leads overseas.
Aides to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, worried about the political implications of keeping such information to themselves, sat anxiously on the sidelines as a local television station, WNBC Channel 4, got wind of the alleged plot days ago but agreed under pressure to hold the news. Only yesterday, after intelligence agents caught two people in Iraq they were seeking in the alleged plot, did Washington gave the city and the police the green light to alert the public to the threat. “I’m quite frankly bewildered,” Ed Watt, secretary-treasurer of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union. “If they’re relying on transit workers and the general public to say something if we see something, why are we finding out two days after the threat? Why did they wait?” Said Bloomberg: “We had enough specificity to be comforted that it was not going, nothing was planned to happen for the next few days.”