NEW YORK (AP) -- New York's police commissioner said that while the
city is on heightened alert following a recent terror warning, he
does not believe there is significantly greater danger than at any
point since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
"I think the threat is fairly constant," Police Commissioner Raymond
Kelly said in an interview broadcast Sunday. "I don't think it
necessarily goes up and down or diminishes very much."
Still, Kelly said the government has a responsibility to inform
citizens when it receives new intelligence about possible terror
attacks, even if repeated warnings test the public's attentiveness.
"I think people can get rather blase and accept it as business as
usual if you have too many of these warnings," he said on WNBC-TV's
"News Forum." But, he said, "I think the government sees itself with
an obligation, when it has information, to put it out in the public
domain. In fact, they get criticized if it's not done."
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said last week that new
intelligence showed possible terror attacks being planned against
several buildings in New York, Washington and Newark, N.J.
Officials have since acknowledged that the information came largely
from a Pakistani computer engineer captured last month and that most
of the information was amassed in 2000 and 2001. No timetable for
potential attacks has ever been specified.
Some critics of the Bush administration, including former Democratic
presidential candidate Howard Dean, said the warning was timed to
deflect attention from the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and members of the Bush administration denied
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"What happened (last week) was, very specific information was
uncovered just literally three days before Secretary Ridge came out
with that announcement," Kelly said. "It was unlike any other
information that we've seen because of its precision and its detail."