Pentagon Claims Intel that Led to New York Alert
07 October 2005
The U.S. Defense Department says the terrorist alert in New York was based on information it gathered in recent weeks, and that the information also led to a raid on a suspect location in Iraq during the last few days.
Spokesman Bryan Whitman says the U.S. military gathered the information in unspecified locations, and shared it with other U.S. government agencies. That information apparently led to the decision by officials in New York to issue a terrorism alert for the city's subway system on Thursday.
The Pentagon spokesman says the raid in Iraq this week, carried out by Iraqi forces with coalition troops in support, also resulted from the information. He says the intelligence value of the raid is still being evaluated, but some officials in New York have linked the raid to their decision to issue the alert.
The details of the information are being kept secret, but spokesmen in Washington at the Department of Homeland Security and at the White House questioned its credibility.
President Bush was asked Friday whether he thinks New York City officials over-reacted to it.
"I think they took the information we gave, and made the judgments they thought were necessary," said Mr. Bush. "And, the American people have got to know that we're collecting information, and sharing it with local authorities on a timely basis, and that's important."
New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has defended his decision to issue the alert, saying the information was credible and that, if he makes a mistake, it will always be on the side of protecting the people of his city.
A senior U.S. general says he would not be surprised if attacks on the United States were being planned in Iraq. But Major General Stephen Johnson, the commander of coalition forces in western Iraq, said he has not seen any evidence of such activity in his sector.
"We have not seen any indication of things that are being done here that have application in the United States," said Mr. Johnson. "But that doesn't mean that, somewhere along the line, it couldn't occur. These are dangerous people that we're dealing with. That's why it's so important to go after them wherever they are."
The raid that was related to the New York City threat was reportedly carried out south of Baghdad, outside of General Johnson's area.
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