Friday, October 07, 2005

I'd find it a lot easier to shrug off the reported threat to the New York subways if Homeland Security were worked up and the city were downplaying the threat. Unfortunately, it's the other way around. Of the two, I know which one I consider more credible.

This strikes me as the key line in last night's ABC/AP story, linked above:

After several days of work, sources said, the NYPD became increasingly concerned because it was unable to discredit the initial source and additional information from the source.

That doesn't mean this is credible. It just means no hole has been found in the story yet.

If the Bushies were trying to scare America for a bump in the polls, I think they'd be yelling "Boo!" a lot louder, and not letting Mike Bloomberg hog the spotlight. Bloomberg, of course, is running for reelection, but I think he's savvy enough to know that many New Yorkers are skeptical about these warnings; moreover, unlike Bush and Giuliani, he's never tried to declare himself the guy who's led the fight to keep us safe from terrorism -- we don't connect him with fear, so surely he knows that inspiring fear won't make his poll numbers go up.

I realize I'm supposed to be dubious, but I think this is just what it appears to be -- a probably specious threat that, nevertheless, can't yet be written off through hard facts, and that Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly are therefore taking seriously. So the city is raising an alarm, assuming that can do more good than harm -- if there's anything there, the alert might help disrupt the threat.

Normal cynicism will return to this space shortly.

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