NBC 4 New York
New York City officials are questioning why the FBI in Boston was slow to notify them that the surviving suspect in the marathon bombing said he and his brother had discussed coming to Times Square to detonate the rest of their explosives. Jonathan Dienst has the latest.
New York City officials are questioning why the FBI in Boston was slow to notify them that the surviving suspect in the marathon bombing said he and his brother had discussed coming to Times Square to detonate the rest of their explosives.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday that "there was a lag in info," and added that officials "don't know why."
"We certainly hope it does not happen again," Kelly said.
An FBI spokesman declined to comment.
The suspects' plans never materialized because their carjacked SUV ran out of gas and they got into a firefight with police.
Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg said Thursday that they had been notified only the previous night about what investigators had learned from questioning Dzhokhar Tsarnaev days earlier.
An FBI official says the NYPD and New York FBI were advised hours after the firefight, when one suspect was still on the loose, that the two brothers may have discussed New York City, but the information at that point was not clear. That lead came from the driver whose SUV was carjacked by the suspects, who believes he heard them mention "Manhattan."
Initially, police officials said Tsarnaev, who is hospitalized and charged in the attack, indicated to investigators over the weekend that he and older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev had planned a trip to Manhattan after the bombing last week to "party."
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev then subsequently told investigators during questioning Sunday into Monday that he and his brother discussed the idea of exploding the rest of their bombs in Times Square, officials said.
The FBI official said that information was passed along from the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force to the New York JTTF Tuesday into Wednesday.
The mayor and police commissioner maintain they were not briefed until Wednesday night.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed after the firefight with police and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev fled on foot, only to be captured hours later. They had explosives with them, including another pressure cooker bomb, at the time.
If they had arrived in New York City, Kelly said they would have encountered a significant police presence, which had been heightened after the bombings.
“We don’t know if we would have been able to stop the terrorists had they arrived here from Boston,” Bloomberg said. “We’re just thankful that we didn’t have to find out that answer.”
Officials cautioned Thursday that the idea of coming to New York was "aspirational" and was not developed.