FBI warns of possible threats to New York landmarks

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) -- The FBI warned officials in New York on Tuesday about uncorroborated information that landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, might be targeted by terrorists, a law enforcement official said.

The information, passed to the FBI's joint terrorism task force in New York, was based on interviews with detainees and was not independently confirmed, the official said.

Security was increased around monuments and landmarks after the warning was relayed to New York officials, the official said.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Tuesday that the NYPD was dealing very closely with federal authorities and said the department was prepared for "any eventuality." Kelly's comments came the day before Fleet Week 2002, an annual gathering of naval ships and personnel.

Kelly said he felt the department was "doing the best that we reasonably can do to prevent another incident and to respond if, God forbid, there is one."

Security zones are in place, forbidding vessels from operating within 150 yards of the United Nations, Ellis Island or Liberty Island. Also, no vessels can operate within 25 yards of bridge piers, abutments, tunnel ventilators or waterfront facilities.

Additional Fleet Week restrictions were announced Monday. There are minimum-speed, no-wake "protection zones" that extend 500 yards from all U.S. naval vessels at all times.

Non-military vessels are not allowed to enter within 100 yards of any U.S. naval vessel unless authorized by an official patrol.

On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he didn't see any reason why people shouldn't enjoy Fleet Week and other activities over the weekend.

"The more people that are out the safer this city will be, and we are used to hosting big events. Fleet Week is just another one," he said. "There area always threats unfortunately, but fortunately, most are hoaxes."

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