The death of Osama bin Laden was celebrated last night at Ground Zero and Times Square, but it also triggered heightened security throughout the five boroughs.
“Our assumption is Bin Laden’s disciples would like nothing better than to avenge his death by another attack in New York,” said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. “That is our operating premise. And we started taking precautions yesterday evening.”
Kelly was speaking in front of Ground Zero, at a press conference organized by Mayor Bloomberg and attended by a number of other officials.
“We’re doing these things out of an abundance of caution,” Kelly said. “Bin Laden directed here and was either the planner or the inspiration for a dozen plots in the city, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the subway system, brining explosive material through shipping containers.”
Later, when I asked Kelly — who has NYPD officers in several countries throughout the world, gathering anti-terrorism information — to described Bin Laden’s role in those recent attacks, he was not specific.
“I think it’s unclear,” said Kelly, “as to what his latest influence was. Obviously he was in a building, we’re told that had no internet, no communications capacity of its own. So whatever he was doing he was doing through couriers. But in terms of his immediate role, lets say in the last six months or a year, I couldn’t tell you.”