RealNews

New York Steps Up Some Scrutiny and Some Traffic Slows to Crawl

Concerned that river crossings are among the likelier potential targets for terrorist attacks, the New York Police Department sharply increased its patrols at bridges and tunnels yesterday. The patrols, along with inspections of trucks in Manhattan, slowed traffic to a single-lane crawl on entrance ramps and avenues. The traffic snarls were perhaps the most visible evidence that New York was feeling the squeeze of security in anticipation of the American-led attack on Iraq. Officials said that officers at more than a dozen checkpoints used handheld devices the size of a cellphone to scan cargo for radiological material. “The idea is to avoid anything going down there — downtown — blowing anything up,” said Sgt. Al Flaxman, the chief of the unit inspecting trucks heading south of 96th Street in Manhattan. The inspections — part of Operation Atlas, the Police Department’s comprehensive security plan to prevent retaliatory terrorist attacks — reflected a sense of what might be on the minds of terrorists. While no specific threat against a particular bridge or tunnel has been received, officials said, in recent months intelligence analysts studying statements by captured terrorists found several mentions of the economic disruption that would follow an attack on any of the major routes into the city. Full Story

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