Subway Terror Threat: Is an Attack Imminent?

ByABC News
October 7, 2005, 6:22 PM

Oct. 7, 2005 — -- The latest terror threat to hit the airwaves has pitted state and local officials against their federal counterparts. 

According to information gathered, the target date for a possible terror attack on New York subways is this Sunday, Oct. 9. Yet, American officials cannot seem to agree if that gathered information is credible.

Today, New York officials acted as if an attack could be imminent. Thousands of extra police officers were put on patrol. Baggage checks, bomb-sniffing dogs and repetitive announcements urging passengers to report anything unusual were constant reminders of the possible danger.

Behind the warnings and increased security was the capture of three skilled terrorist bomb makers in Iraq earlier this week. The three were fingered by an American military informant, who had infiltrated the bomb makers' group several months ago and led the military to their training camp.

"The information from all this says there is going to be an attack, and it is going to be in New York," said Richard Clarke, a former counter-terrorism advisor in the White House and now an ABC News consultant.

Officials tell ABC News that, according to the source, the three bomb makers had built hundreds of suicide bombs in Iraq and had already sent 19 members of their group to the United States.

"It's entirely possible for terrorists with the support of a terrorist infrastructure to leave Iraq and end up in Manhattan," Clarke said.

When the New York Police Department received the information, including the name of someone said to be in the city, it ordered immediate action, including close surveillance of known Iraqi and Afghani neighborhoods.

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a point of riding the subway this morning, however, unnamed officials in Washington were questioning his decisions. 

The Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin, in which it said it had doubts as to the credibility of the threat information. While these remarks were repeated off the record to reporters, the mayor fired back.