Near Miss In New York

New Yorkers Avert ‘Deadly Event’; Police Disarm Bomb (Update3)

May 2 (Bloomberg) -- New York police disarmed a bomb in a sport utility vehicle parked in Times Square, averting an attack in the heart of the city’s theater district on a Saturday evening.

“We are very lucky that we avoided what could have been a very deadly event,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters at a 2:20 a.m. news conference today one block from the corner of 45th Street and Broadway. “We have no idea who did this or why.”

He said a T-shirt vendor alerted a police officer to a suspicious Nissan Pathfinder parked near the Minskoff Theater, venue of “The Lion King” musical. Bloomberg took office in January 2002, weeks after the coordinated Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by the al-Qaeda terror group that killed almost 3,000 people, most at the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon just outside of Washington.

“Terrorists around the world who feel threatened by the freedoms that we have always focus on those symbols of freedoms and that is New York City,” said Bloomberg, who had been in Washington D.C. attending the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. He returned to the city upon hearing about the incident and arrived at the scene with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

‘One-Off’ Event

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the attempt appears to be a “one-off” event unrelated to any larger terrorist plot. She was interviewed today on ABC’s “This Week.” Later, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Napolitano said the incident “certainly looks” to be a terrorist act, although “it’s too soon to tell who was responsible.”

Bomb squad technicians used a robotic dismantler to take apart a crude explosive device that included propane tanks, Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, said in a telephone interview earlier.

Parts of the heavily trafficked area were evacuated at about 6:35 p.m. There were no injuries and the bomb appeared to be unable to explode, Browne said.

While there may be images of the vehicle captured by video cameras in the neighborhood, the police have no witnesses who saw a suspicious man exiting the vehicle or running from the scene, the mayor said.

Propane Tanks, Fireworks

The car contained three propane tanks, consumer grade fireworks, two filled 5-gallon gasoline containers and two clocks including batteries and a box resembling a gun locker, Kelly told reporters.

“It certainly could have exploded and have a decent amount of impact,” Bloomberg said.

Browne said the bomb was apparently in the process of detonating, but malfunctioned, the New York Times reported.

The wiring was “amateurish,” Bloomberg said in his briefing.


It is troubling to think that a bomb attempt occured in such a busy theatre area in New York. There are no apparent strategic targets in the vicinity. It seems that the bomber was looking for maximum human damage.  The potential impact on human life and the economic fallout would be be catastrophic as we recall the horrors of 9/11.

Questions that remains to be answered, are how the authorities will react to this event.
Will we see civil liberties curtailed to "improve safety"?

Are we seeing the beginning of a wave of attacks that are not just initiated by foreign terror cells, but domestic ones as well?

Will this result in the passing of draconian legislation that violates Habeas Corpus like S 3081 to usher in a form of police state?

Will 2010 become the summer of our discontent?