It must be incredibly difficult to inform the public of a vague but real terrorist threat without inducing unnecessary panic. That was the line that Mayor Bloomberg and Janice Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge for the New York Office, and other officials had to walk when informing reporters on Thursday that there was, in the words of Fedarcyk, a "credible, specific but unconfirmed" terrorism threat planned near the eve of the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
In Marc Ambinder's National Journal report, the threat was described by senior U.S. counterterrorism official as a plan to detonate car bombs in New York or D.C. An ABC News report added that the plan was by bin Laden successor Ayman al-Zawahiri and that "authorities are scrambling to sort through information that the CIA developed in the past 24 hours indicating that at least three individuals entered the U.S. in August by air."
The threat was also described as aimed at tunnels or bridges in those cities and that, as The Wall Street Journal wrote, the government will "intensify security at airports, train stations, military bases and public buildings in anticipation of a possible attack." NBC News put the threat on a scale of 1 to 10, quoting an Obama administration official saying that the "that the threat 'so far' was a 5 to 6." That doesn't really make one feel comfortable. But Bloomberg, in last night's press conference, tried to urge calm: "I will take the subway (Friday) and feel just as safe as I did this morning," he said via NBC.