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Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly on Bomber's NYC Intent

PR- 149-13
April 25, 2013


The following are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as delivered this afternoon in the Blue Room of City Hall:

“Good afternoon. I’m joined here in City Hall by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

“Ten days ago, our city and nation received a horrific reminder that we remain targets for terrorists. Immediately upon news of the explosions in Boston, we fully mobilized the New York City Police Department’s vast counterterrorism operations – because we thought there was a possibility that there could be a related attack here.

“We now know that that possibility was – in fact – all too real. Last night, we were informed by the FBI that the surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets.

“He told the FBI apparently that he and his brother had intended to drive to New York and detonate additional explosives in Times Square. They had built those additional explosives, and we know they had the capacity to carry out the attacks.

“If, God forbid, they had arrived in New York City and gone to Times Square, one thing’s for sure, they would have seen an enormous police presence. But they would not have seen the extensive network of cameras that are part of our security initiative, and which can help police identify suspicious movements, such as a package left unattended on the street.

“The investments we’ve made in counterterrorism operations, technology, and intelligence help reduce the possibility of a successful terrorist strike, but they certainly do not eliminate it. Nothing can do that.

“We don’t know if we would have been able to stop the terrorists, had they arrived here from Boston, we’re just thankful we didn’t have to find out that answer.

“And as a result of the extraordinary work of the Watertown, Massachusetts Police Department, the Boston Police Department, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and other law enforcement agencies the terrorists were stopped before they could carry out further attacks, though not before sadly murdering an MIT police officer, Sean Collier, and wounding others.

“The role that surveillance cameras played in identifying the suspects was absolutely essential to saving lives – both in Boston, and now we know, here in New York City as well. We’ve made major investments in camera technology – notwithstanding the objections of some special interests. And the attacks in Boston I think demonstrate just how valuable those cameras can be.

“We’ve been able to make these investments – and many others – with support from the federal government, and I did want to thank Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and President Obama for recognizing that homeland security funding should be based on threat, and threat alone – not pork barrel politics.

“The fact is, New York City remains a prime target for those who hate America and want to kill Americans. The attacks in Boston – and the news that New York City was next on the terrorists’ list – shows just how critical it is for the federal government to devote resources to high-risk areas.

“It also shows just how crucial it is for the NYPD to continue to expand its counterterrorism capabilities and intelligence gathering activities.

“Now, let me turn the floor over to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.”

The following are Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly’s remarks as delivered:

“Thank you, Mr. Mayor. As the Mayor said, last evening we learned through the Joint Terrorist Task Force that the Boston Marathon bombers had planned to travel to Manhattan to detonate remaining bombs in Times Square.

“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the terror suspect who was captured alive, initially told investigators that he and his brother decided after the Boston bombings that they would go to New York City to party.

“However, a subsequent questioning of Dzhokhar revealed that he and his brother decided spontaneously on Times Square as a target. They would drive to Times Square that same night.

“They discussed this while driving around in a Mercedes SUV that they had hijacked after they shot and killed an MIT Police Officer in Cambridge, Dzhokhar said. That plan, however, fell apart when they realized that the vehicle that they hijacked was low on gas and ordered the driver to stop at a nearby gas station.

“The driver used the opportunity to escape and call the police. That eventually led to the shootout in Watertown where the older brother was killed in an exchange of gunfire with the police.

“Up until that point the two brothers had at their disposal six improvised explosive devices. One was a pressure cooker bomb similar to the two that had exploded at the Marathon. The other fired were pipe bombs.

“We know that Dzhokhar was photographed in Times Square with friends on or before April 18th of 2012 and that he was in the city again in November of 2012. We don’t know if those visits were related in any way to what he described as the brothers’ spontaneous decision to target Times Square.

“The NYPD Intelligence Division is actively investigating to determine Dzhokhar movements in New York City, as well as who he might have been with here.

“New York City detectives and supervisors assigned to the Joint Terrorist Task Force with the FBI are assisting in the ongoing investigation in both Boston and New York. There’s no evidence at this time, however, to indicate that New York City is currently a target of another terrorist attack stemming from the Boston bombings. Mr. Mayor?”


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