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NY bids to secure subways but 'no guarantees'

(Reuters circulated the following story on April 5.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said on Monday the city was working hard to prevent an attack on its trains and buses but that the largest U.S. mass transit system was still vulnerable.

New York had 2,800 transit police officers protecting transit, primarily guarding the subways, he said. In addition to their presence, they will conduct station and train sweeps, while the city has hot lines for vigilant passengers to report anything suspicious.

"We can think of hundreds of scenarios ... (in which an attack is) feasible, but we've done a lot to prevent it," Kelly told CBS' "The Early Show." "It's an issue of being aware of your environment. There's no guarantees. We live in a dangerous world."

In a bulletin last week, the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security said bombs hidden in luggage could be used in a plot to attack buses and railroads in major American cities this summer.

The U.S. security officials said the bulletin was issued in light of events such as the March 11 train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 and injured 1,500.

The Republican Party will hold its national convention at New York's Madison Square Garden, which is above Pennsylvania Station, the busiest U.S. train station, which is used by long-distance Amtrak passenger trains and the city's subway system.

Kelly said the station would not be shut down during the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 convention.

"Anything's possible given a specific threat," he said. "But you'll see a very robust police presence. We'll be using technology, be using other agencies to help protect Penn Station and the trains coming (into it). So I don't envision that happening."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week he could foresee Penn Station being closed for a few hours while President George W. Bush addresses the Republican convention.

In Boston, where Democrats in July will name Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry as their presidential nominee, a major train station will be closed and an interstate highway through the city's center will be shut down in the evenings amid heightened security fears after the Madrid bombings, officials said last week.

The four-day convention, which starts on July 26, is taking place in the Fleet Center, which sits atop North Station. Boston police and the U.S. Secret Service said the station would be shut down on July 23 until the end of the convention.

New York began training thousands of police officers to respond to a potential attack on the subway, a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a week system system that carries over 4 million people a day through 468 stations and over 600 miles (965 km) of track.

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

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