May 2nd, 2010
03:48 AM ET

Official: 'Too early' to call Times Square a terror incident

It is too early to tell whether the incident in New York's Times Square was a terror incident involving al Qaeda or another terror network, a federal official briefed on the situation told CNN early Sunday.

The investigation by the New York police "just started," the official said.

The official cautioned that connecting any dots this soon will get "way ahead" of the investigation.

But based on the preliminary investigation, the official downplayed the impact of the car bomb, saying, "if it was real, it didn't work."

A second federal official also said there are no clear indicators that this is international terrorism.

Filed under: Terrorism • Times Square Car Bomb • U.S.
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. joseph

    2 weeks ago comedy central aired an episode of southpark that offended alot of muslims...the car bomb was found near viacom headquarters in new york city (mentioned in pasing by the media). viacom owns comedy central which airs southpark.........HMMMMMMMM.
    2 weeks is enough time for some small group of ticked off muslim friends with little to no explosives training and an easily obtained copy of the anarchists cookbook (LOL) to formulate a plan of retaliation. It was obvious to me from what i've heard on the news that the bomb was slopy and extremly amaturish and it obviously failed due to quick thinking of whome was muslim, the other a vietnam vet. One would assume if the "terrorists" were well funded they wouldn't have used what they fireworks,gasoline and propaine. I'm sorry but whoever did this wasn't too terribly inteligent and they'll probably get caught soon.
    what i want to know is.......when is the media going to realize the possibility the bomb was meant for viacom in retribution for the southpark episode.......just couldn't get closer to the building due to taken parking spaces.

    May 2, 2010 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. ab

    Too early to tell if it is terrorism?

    Well, if it wasn't terrorism, then what was it? a protest against clubbing baby seals or just someone was getting ready to set up a table for selling Girl Scout cookies?

    May 2, 2010 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. bp

    Security Expert
    Sal Lifrieri is leaning towards a "Timothy McVeigh" type. He says that is what he always
    worries about. I think he might consider other possiblities since there have been many other forms of terrorism in this country. As a non expert I'm a little concerned about how
    misguided his analysis is this morning.

    May 2, 2010 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. JR

    I agree with Joseph that it's probably a handful of home growns with a bone to pick. As to the feds, they are seriously annoying. Of course it's terrorism, what isn't known is who was trying to perpetrate it. Since a car filled with smoking propane tanks isn't a party joke, that alone qualifies as 'real'. And yes of course it didn't work, it would have blown up if it had.

    Who hires these people? Do they actually consider how their message is going to be received?

    May 2, 2010 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. AMS

    Joseph, they didnt need a parking space – they left the car out in the street. Even though the bomb was amateurish, the experts are saying most domestic bombers target federal bldgs. This was most likely international terrorists – they target people.

    May 2, 2010 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. James

    Mark: Jefferson and others wrote that for democracy to work, there needs to be an informed electorate and reasonable discourse. Make no mistake about it: by poisoning the conversation with your conspiratorial minded, inflammatory nonsense, you do far more damage in actuality to the state of the nation than those who you so blithely attack ever did.

    To the rest of you: the article very clearly states what it means when it is referring to 'terrorism.' Could you for a moment do that thing which has so fallen out of fashion in America at present and, instead of flapping your gums at the smallest provocation, actually take the time to read the article BEYOND the headline?

    May 2, 2010 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. maine liberal

    terrorism by definition is in the threat not in the deed

    the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.

    From what I'm hearing this is domestic based and would not be surprised if its "tea party"
    Remember OKC was at first reported as Islam connected

    May 2, 2010 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jim

    The started in America (9/11/01). That is why we are fighting.

    May 2, 2010 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. rs1201

    If it is a bunch of disgruntled Muslims who did this, then I would vote for the Arizona immigration law to become NY law. The hell with whoever doesn't like it. It would not affect me or any other law abiding citizen. It would affect the criminals amongst us and get them off the streets and off to Gitmo.

    May 2, 2010 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Martin

    Could it be a BP plot?? What better way to get the media attention diverted away from their Billion dollar booboo.

    May 2, 2010 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. John

    The official would have been better off saying that they don't know if this is the work of a terrorist group or a solo individual. I can't envision any circumstances under which this could be defined as anything but an act of terrorism.

    The other thought that occurs to me is that they will probably have the vehicle on video multiple times while the individuals tried to park. Ever try to park in Times Square? I haven't even bothered to try. Its not a pull in and park kind of situation. The actors in this event probably had to circle around for an extended period before an opportunity to park opened up. This is among the hardest places to park in Manhattan (and thats saying something! when talking about Manhattan!!). I can't even recall if any of that area is legal parking.

    I suppose they could have arrived in the very early morning hours when Times Square is deserted. However, the reports were that the hazard lights on the vehicle were flashing. I don't think it could have sat there all day with its lights flashing without attracting notice earlier. Battery would likely have drained as well.

    With the number of web-cams in NYC its very possible they might be able to track the vehicle coming in from several blocks away.

    May 2, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. John

    Upon second review of this article I would have to point out that the 'official' actually did respond with a reasonable statement (see my earlier remark). Its CNN who posted out of context with their article caption.

    The officlal stated that it was too early to tell if this was a terror incident involving al qaeda or another group. Its CNN who erroneously (or misleadingly) stated that the official said 'it was too early to call this a terror incident'.

    Those are contextually two different statements. Sloppy journalism.

    May 2, 2010 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. jacob

    Act of Terror? Ofcourse it is.

    May 2, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
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