Officials: Two Men Planned Subway Attack

NEW YORK — Two men — a U.S. citizen and a Pakistani — were arrested in late August, authorities charging them with plotting to detonate a bomb in the New York subway.

“They had the intention to cause damage, to kill people,” The New York Post quoted Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as saying. However, the men “did not immediately have the means to do it.”

Authorities say the two men planned to use bombs in backpacks to blow up the Herald Square subway station, The Associated Press reported. The man also planned on placing explosives at stations located at 42nd and 59th streets, the news agency quoted Kelly as saying.

In recent months, the NTA unveiled a new public service advertisement urging anyone who sees a suspicious item or person to notify authorities. A picture in one of the ads shows a backpack under an empty bench with a train in the distance.

The two men, authorities say, went to the Herald Square station on Aug. 21, and after their visit they drew plans of the station. The men later gave the drawings to a police informant.

One of the men told the informant he was “ready for jihad,” The Associated Press reported. However, authorities say the two men were not linked to any major international terrorist organization.

The men appeared in a Brooklyn court on Aug. 27, where a federal judge ordered them remanded.

“These two men conspired to commit an extremely violent act, but they never had explosives and never got anywhere close to planting them,” The New York Post quoted U.S. Attorney Roslyn Mauskopf as saying.

Preparing for a possible terrorist attack, the MTA has stepped up its security efforts.

Since April 2001, the MTA has increased its police force by 39 percent, or 200 people. And since March 2004, the MTA has received more calls, and its bomb-sniffing K-9 units, which respond to calls of suspicious packages in Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road stations, Grand Central Terminal, and Penn Station, have been increasingly busy.

In January, they responded to 71 calls, 104 in March and 124 in April.

Published in the September 2004 edition of The Cross-Tie.