Sunday, May 28, 2017

Was it a dry run by terrorists?

A bag left at curbside outside Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport.  Not such a big deal. Absent minded travelers do it all the time. But this time it was cause for real concern. Not just when it was discovered and reported late yesterday afternoon. But now still.

I'll tell you why.

Inside that discarded or maybe deliberately placed brown bag was a pressure cooker. Sound familiar?

Two pressure cooker bombs were used for the Boston Marathon terror attack.  It was a pressure cooker bomb that went off in the explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. It was a pressure cooker bomb that didn't go off the same day just four blocks away.

(The man charged in the New York City bombings, a bombing in Seaside Heights, NJ and the placement of several bombs in Elizabeth, NJ, 
Ahmad Khan Rahimi coincidentally lived just six miles from the airport in Elizabeth. Police say he was captured following a shootout with officers in Linden, NJ that left two officers and Rahimi wounded.)

The terminal was evacuated. Two bomb squads came out and found no explosives. And the terminal was reopened.

All of this, perhaps,  "out of an abundance of caution" as they say these days. Which might leave you thinking this was much ado about nothing.  But law enforcement sources say they're not so quick to discount what happened at the airport.

A law enforcement source with knowledge of the situation tells me there's concern that this was a test of emergency response. Or a dry run.

Another law enforcement source suggests it may have just been an attempt to scare people this Memorial Day holiday weekend. If that's the case, whoever left the bag succeeded. Some of the people evacuating the terminal did so in a panic. Several of those interviewed say the experience leaves them shaken.

The law enforcement sources wouldn't reveal more because they don't want to tip potential terrorists off to their strategies. But, suffice to say, they remain just as concerned as they did when they initially responded to the call.

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