October 7, 2005


3rd Man Detained in Connection With Terror Plot, Official Says (WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM and TIMOTHY WILLIAMS, 10/07/05, NY Times)

A third man has been detained in a suspected plot to detonate explosives on the city's subway system, a government official said today, as police officers searched passengers' bags on subways, buses and ferries.

Authorities are holding three Al Qaeda operatives in connection with the suspected plot, although no details were available on who they are, where they were detained or what agency captured them, said the government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information. Authorities on Thursday said two men had been taken into custody. A third was captured today, the official said.

The official said the informer who provided information about the men had undergone explosives training with them at an Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. [...]

Some officials in Washington have played down the nature of the threat. While not entirely dismissing it, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security described it as "specific yet noncredible," adding that the intelligence community had concluded that the information was of "doubtful credibility."

Today in Washington, President Bush said the city had decided on its own to inform the public about the threats.

"Our job is to gather intelligence and pass it on to local authorities," Mr. Bush told reporters in a White House picture-taking session with Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany of Hungary. "And they make the judgments necessary to respond. The level of cooperation between the federal government and the local government is getting better and better. And part of that level of cooperation is the ability to pass information on. And we did, and they responded."

When asked whether he thought New York officials had overreacted, the president demurred. "I think they took the information we gave and made the judgments they thought were necessary," he said. "And the American people have got to know that, one, we're collecting information and sharing it with local authorities on a timely basis. And that's important."

Earlier today, the White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters: "In this case, we notified New York City officials early on of the intelligence information that we had received. And while it is specific, you heard our Homeland Security officials say it is of doubtful credibility. It is something we continue to analyze."

How can you arrest three al Qaeda operatives and be dubious about the threat?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 7, 2005 7:27 PM

The same way HillBilly ignored the first World Trade Center bombing and did not consider it an act of terrorism, but a criminal act.

Posted by: obc at October 7, 2005 8:45 PM

How can you have a suicide bomber come *this* close to committing mass murder at an Oklahoma football game and have the media ignore the story?

Posted by: b at October 7, 2005 10:30 PM

Gosh, I hope they don't "torture" the poor AlQ captures by playing any loud music or putting them in "stress positions" or reading them Andrew Sullivan blog posts. Cause that would be wrong.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 7, 2005 11:23 PM

There is a considerable voice on the left that was immediately claiming Thursday's speech by Bush and the NYC subway terror threats were merely "wag-the-dog" incidents, and who will immediately suspect Bush if any major terror incident does happen in the U.s. from now until probably several years after Jan. 20, 2009.

Logic is lost on these people, even though Islamic terrorists tried to bomb a NYC subway station near the Arab enclave along Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn in 1997, and security was tightest this morning near the subway stations in the area around the Arab enclave along Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn, eight years later. Considering the terrorist attacked the World Trade Center in 1993 before coming back again eight years later, you would think the left would take this stuff seriously, but they don't. Domestic politics trumps all concerns for them, even though the areas the terrorists target are most likely to be the same areas where these people live.

Posted by: John at October 7, 2005 11:52 PM