New York Mayor Holds News Conference On Explosion
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a press conference on the explosion last night in New York City.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is a special WEEKEND EDITION update from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. We're following the investigation into an explosion in New York City last night. Authorities say it was a homemade bomb and that it was a, quote, "intentional act." Twenty-nine people were injured. The NYPD is also analyzing a secondary device found near the site. Earlier this morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke to the press where he reiterated that there is no indication the explosion had any connection to international terrorism.
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ANDREW CUOMO: I believe the mayor was saying there was no connection with international terrorism. And that is correct. No one has taken credit. There have been no international groups that have put out any statements that are connecting them with this action.
MARTIN: The investigation is underway. So far no arrests have been made. But Governor Cuomo said whoever is behind the explosion will be held accountable.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
CUOMO: Whoever placed these bombs, we will find. And they will be brought to justice, period. You have the finest police agencies in the world when you come to New York.
MARTIN: That was Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking earlier today. We're now waiting to hear from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who is expected to hold a press conference shortly. He'll be speaking from NYPD headquarters, and we'll bring you that when it begins.
Earlier this morning, the mayor toured the site of the explosion. And as we wait for Mayor de Blasio to speak, we're joined now by WNYC reporter Cindy Rodriguez.
Cindy, you've been monitoring developments in this ongoing story. Can you get us up to speed on what the state of the investigation is right now?
CINDY RODRIGUEZ, BYLINE: Well, so far there's still a lot of unanswered questions. You know, no arrests have been made. The motive is still far from being clear. What we do know is what the governor has said. He's the first public official to give a press conference today. The mayor gave one yesterday.
What he has said is that the two devices - there was a device that actually exploded on 23rd Street. It looks very similar to what was found four blocks away. That's a device that did not explode. They seem to be different from what was found in New Jersey, from what went off in New Jersey...
MARTIN: We should say there was another explosion that went off yesterday in New Jersey. It was yesterday morning at the beginning - near the starting point for a charity race.
RODRIGUEZ: Right, exactly. And that race was subsequently canceled. So the governor said that a lot of that evidence has been taken to Quantico to be further analyzed by the FBI. And they're awaiting information from many of the surveillance cameras that were in the area. There's still a lot to be discovered.
MARTIN: What do we know about the condition of those 29 people who were injured?
RODRIGUEZ: There were - they all have been released from the hospital. At first, it was reported that there was one person with a pretty serious injury. But at the press conference earlier, Governor Cuomo said that all 29 have since been released from the hospital.
MARTIN: So, of course, this is happening in New York just a week after the city marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11. When something like this happens - not that it happens so often - but of course there are a lot of questions about what connections there could be to terrorism.
Last night, we did hear the mayor, Bill de Blasio, say this is not about terrorism. There are no links to international terrorism. Then we heard the governor, today, say this is an act of terror. So can you kind of parse that for us? What's happening there?
RODRIGUEZ: Sure. So the governor did repeat that there was no connection to international terror. And then he said, but when a bomb goes off in New York City we can call that, generally speaking, terrorism, an act of terrorism. But there is still lots to be known. And hopefully, at this press conference, that is going to begin soon, we will get some more information from the police and from the mayor.
I have to say that this morning, I guess I got to the site around 8:30 in the morning. People were just getting up, they were starting to get their cup of coffee, take their dogs out for a walk. Many people didn't even know what had happened. And they were surprised to see the streets closed.
MARTIN: So what did the scene look like?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, you know, it was very hard to see. The governor, in his press conference, he described extensive property damage, 23rd Street is completely closed off, this block where the explosion happened. I went to both ends. It's very hard to see anything. So it happened more towards the middle of the block. There's a tremendous police presence, as you can imagine.
But people were doing their routine activities. And, you know, I asked several people, you know, if they were feeling anxious about this. And most people did not feel anxious and felt like there's still a lot that needs to be parsed out and that things happen in New York City. A lot of things happen in New York City, and this is just one of them.
There were people that couldn't get into - there was some tourists that were traveling from Vancouver that heard about this last night. They knew it happened, but they decided to come anyway. And they thought that their hotel would be fine, but it wasn't. The street is closed off so they were told to come back in an hour or so. They handled it pretty well. There were - you know, the hotel workers also felt the same way, that they were going to wait around and soon they would be allowed to start their normal day of work. So people were continuing with their days.
MARTIN: We are awaiting a press conference from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and I've been talking with Cindy Rodriguez of member station WNYC in New York. Cindy, we heard Governor Cuomo say there will be an increased police presence in the city over the next couple of days. What can you tell us about that?
RODRIGUEZ: Right. That's right. He said that they would - out of an abundance of caution - they would bring in about a thousand state troopers and National Guards and place them in major transportation hubs, in bus terminals, in the airport - at the airport. And he said that there was no known threat to New York City, but that they were doing this out of caution.
MARTIN: I've been talking with WNYC's Cindy Rodriguez. As we mentioned, we are awaiting a press conference from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and we will bring that to you when it begins. For now, though, we are going to turn to news out of Syria. The Syrian cease-fire that started less than a week ago continues to unravel.
The U.S. has been supporting opposition forces trying to unseat President Bashar al-Assad. Russia has been supporting Assad's regime. The cease-fire agreement happened because the U.S. and Russia decided to work together and coordinate airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. Then yesterday, a U.S.-led airstrike that was supposed to target the Islamic State instead hit some of Bashar al-Assad's forces. Russia then accused the U.S. of actually supporting ISIS. Russia also said they'd call an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. It is a complicated situation with serious consequences for the region.
Earlier, I spoke with Liz Sly of The Washington Post, who has been following developments out of Beirut. And she told me about how this U.S. airstrike on Syrian government troops happened.
LIZ SLY: Well, yes, we don't really know many details about how it happened. First of all, we had an allegation from the Syrian government. Then we had a very angry statement from the Russians saying that this strike had killed over 60 Syrian soldiers. Then we heard from the Pentagon, which said it had called off a strike in that area, at the location mentioned, after receiving telephone calls from Russia to say, these are Syrian troops, stop bombing. They called off the strike.
Now, they did say that they had informed Russia, in advance, about this location of the strike. They said they'd hit it before, that ISIS has been there before. Apparently, the front lines had moved, and the Pentagon didn't know the front lines had moved.
MARTIN: So it took so long to craft this cease-fire agreement. It was very fragile from the get-go. Now, what are the odds that the ceasefire will hold after this strike?
SLY: Well, it's looking very, very shaky indeed. I don't think anybody ever held out much hope that this cease-fire was going to work. It really wasn't premised on any solution to the Syrian war. It was premised more on U.S.-Russian cooperation than it is about events on the ground in Syria. And neither site on the ground is particularly interested in cooperation, so all of them are very skeptical about the cease-fire in the first place.
And this strike has come at an extremely inopportune time. We're supposed to start the U.S.-Russian cooperation tomorrow. Instead, we have probably got huge amounts of diplomatic traffic between Moscow and Washington trying to unravel this mess that has occurred. And the cease-fire itself has sort of gone by the by.
MARTIN: What does this mean for the humanitarian crisis? I mean, the cease-fire was in essence supposed to give U.N. aid workers in particular the opportunity to finally get supplies in, especially to Aleppo, where the devastation has been so severe.
SLY: Well, this was why we could already see that the cease-fire wasn't working because the terms of the deal were that there would be a pause in fighting for seven days, during which aid would flow unimpeded to these areas and especially Aleppo. Now, on the fifth day of that, which was yesterday, we still hadn't seen any aid move, so the cease-fire already wasn't working.
Now, last night at the U.N., the Russian ambassador said, oh, it was going to move this morning. It was all ready to move, but now we don't know if it will. But you don't know whether it would or not because they haven't done it in the past five days. So that key plank of the cease-fire had already basically gone.
MARTIN: Liz Sly is the Beirut bureau chief for The Washington Post. She's been monitoring the situation in Syria. Thank you so much for joining us.
SLY: Thank you.
MARTIN: And I'm going to turn again to Cindy Rodriguez. She's a reporter with our member station WNYC in New York. And Cindy has been monitoring the situation there in Manhattan. We're, of course, following developments after this explosion that happened in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan last night. And we are awaiting a press conference by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Cindy, officials have been trying to piece together a lot of unanswered questions in the wake of last night's bombing.
RODRIGUEZ: Yes, that's right. And we are awaiting for them, as you have already mentioned. I'm sitting here staring at a empty podium, so hoping that they will come on soon and be able to answer many questions about what has been learned since last night, since the last press conference that the mayor and the new police commissioner gave.
MARTIN: Let me ask you this, Cindy, there's been a lot of conversation on social media about the disconnect between how the press has been covering this story over the last few hours and what it feels like in Manhattan right now. A lot of people saying it feels fine, it's calm. Everyone's making a big deal out of this, and we're going on with our life. What have you been hearing from residents in that neighborhood?
RODRIGUEZ: Yeah. Well, I have been hearing a lot of that same thing that you just said. Like I was mentioning, it - there is a heavy police presence. So there's no doubt that something major happened in a major street - 6th Avenue is closed off for many, many blocks. So there's no doubt that something serious has occurred.
On the other hand, people are walking around doing their normal Sunday routines. And there doesn't seem to be a heightened sense of anxiety. People are, you know, getting - I don't want to say getting used to this sort of thing, but I think that people are just - you know, they want to wait and see what's going on, what are some of the answers that we can learn here.
MARTIN: We're also getting reports that residents in that neighborhood can only access the area where the explosion happened if they can prove that they live there. They've got to show some kind of proof of residence. And there are police escorts who are taking people in and out of that area. So even as life is going on, there's still a heavier police presence in that part of Manhattan right now?
RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, that's right. And I don't know for sure what needs to - what people have to show to be able to be let in. I can say that I was standing there when people were told to go get a cup of coffee, go have breakfast. In about an hour you can come back.
We are - they described it as sort of sweeping the area, I guess, making sure that everything was safe. And they were waiting for the results of that sweep to come back before they were letting people in. So, yes, it's true that people were inconvenienced and couldn't get to their apartments or their jobs. But they - people understood as well and were waiting it out.
MARTIN: We understand this was a homemade bomb. Just briefly, Cindy, because I think this is about to begin, what can you tell us about the device that went off?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, Governor Cuomo said it was very similar to the device that was found four blocks away. That was the device that did not go off. That device appears to look like a pressure cooker with wires coming out of it a and what looked like a cellphone attached to it. That's all we know.
MARTIN: And we should say there was another device that was found not too far from the scene of the initial explosion.
RODRIGUEZ: Right. That's the device that was found on 27th Street. So that street is also blocked off, and people are not allowed through there.
MARTIN: We are awaiting a press conference in New York City. We're expecting the city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, to speak at this press conference. He will also be joined by the city's police commissioner.
They will no doubt have to answer a lot of questions which are still outstanding. This explosion happened last night in Manhattan in the Chelsea neighborhood. Twenty-nine people were injured in that explosion. We understand that all those 29 people have now been released from the hospital. And the investigation is ongoing.
We understand this bomb was a homemade device that exploded. Still lots of questions about motive, about who did this and why and questions about whether or not there are any connections to terrorism and what that means.
We are going to hear, now, from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. We're waiting for the mayor to take to the podium. Here he is.
(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS CONFERENCE)
JAMES O'NEILL: All right. Good afternoon, everybody. So we're here to give you an update on the investigation of last night's events. With me is John Miller, Ben Tucker, Carlos Gomez from the FBI, Bill Sweeney, Jim Leonard from the fire department, Joe Esposito from OEM, Dan Nigro from the fire department and the mayor. The mayor is going to start off with some comments.
BILL DE BLASIO: Thank you very much, commissioner. You're going to hear - after I give some opening comments, you're going to hear from Commissioner O'Neill in detail and then Commissioner Nigro and Bill Sweeney, assistant director of the FBI.
I want to thank our federal partners who have been with us from the very beginning of this incident. We are working very, very closely with the FBI to determine exactly what happened here. I was in the affected area this morning talking to residents. Governor Cuomo and I spoke to a number of people who live and work in that area.
And I want to say at the outset, I want to commend my fellow New Yorkers who deal with challenges with incredible resiliency, who are strong, who are focused on going about their everyday business, who are not intimidated by anything. It's something we're very proud of here in the city.
I talked to a lot of people, including folks who were in their homes or in their businesses at the moment the explosion occurred last night. They uniformly said it worried them for sure. But they also said it was not going to change anything they were doing today. And I saw people out there going about their business as usual.
I also saw an extraordinary response by the NYPD, FDNY, Office of Emergency Management. Folks said to me in the neighborhood how reassured they were by the speedy response last night, by the continued police presence. They understand there's an ongoing investigation that will take some time. They understand there will be some disruption in that immediate community. But by and large, people are getting back to business as usual.
We heard a good report on the MTA, no damage there. That will be up and running soon at that subway stop. The attitude people took was one of gratitude for our first responders and a sense that they were safe, now, with the kind of presence that was around them at this point. Now, this was a very serious incident. It's going to take a lot of careful investigation to get to the facts and get to the truth. And one of the things that we're going to say to you today is we're going to be very careful and patient to get to the full truth here. We are not going to jump to conclusions. We're not going to offer you easy answers. We're going to make sure we have all the facts. We know there was a bombing. That much we do know. We know it was a very serious incident. But we have a lot more work to do to be able to say what kind of motivation was behind this. Was it a political motivation, a personal motivation? What was it? We do not know that yet. That work must go on. And we're going to give you regular updates as we get more information.
In terms of those who are affected by this incident, 29 individuals were injured. All have been released from the hospital now. You'll hear more from Commissioner Nigro about the response by the FDNY and the status of those individuals. We obviously - our thoughts and our prayers are with all of them for a full recovery, but I'm very, very pleased to say they are all out of the hospital. Now, for all New Yorkers, a central message we want to give today is be vigilant. Be vigilant at this point in time, not just because of this incident. Be vigilant because we're going into United Nations General Assembly week. Be vigilant because the police need your help. And if you see anything that might be pertinent to this case, we need you to call it in.
And you should know, you will see a very substantial NYPD presence this week, bigger than ever. We would normally have an expanded presence for the United Nations General Assembly. You will see an even stronger presence now. New Yorkers always tell me how reassured they are by seeing our officers, including our newer units, such as the Critical Response Command and the Strategic Response Group. Seeing them out in force and seeing them at the scene of, obviously, key public locations around the United Nations, around Times Square, a lot of other places, well-armed, well-trained, this new unit and the capacity that it has are crucial to keeping this city safe. And so you'll see a lot of them this week. That capacity that we've built - and Commissioner O'Neill was a crucial part of that effort - the capacity we've built over the last two years in response to events we've seen around the world - gives us the strongest anti-terror capacity of any city in the country. And again, it will be fully in use this week.
Now, we know from everything we've seen so far that this was an intentional act. I want to reaffirm what I said last night, but again, we do not know the motivation. We do not know the nature of it. That's what we have to do more work on. The investigatory agencies continue to look to see if there is any specific connection to the incident in New Jersey. At this point, we do not have any specific evidence of a connection, but that will continue to be considered. So we're not taking any options off the table. I want to be very clear about that. All possible theories of what's happened here and how it connects will be looked at, but we have no specific evidence at this point in time.
Again, we are going to urge all New Yorkers to be patient as we get down to the bottom of what happened here. We want to be accurate. I think the most important thing is to give people a clear and accurate picture of what happened and obviously to bring to justice whoever was involved in this incident. And the NYPD is using its full capacity to find anyone who was involved and bring them to justice.
I want to affirm again, if you have any information that might link to this incident - video, photos, eyewitness accounts, overheard conversations, anything - please call the NYPD. And the number is 1-800-577-TIPS - 1-800-577-T-I-P-S. New Yorkers, as always, are not intimidated. That's part of who we are. We'll go about our business, and we will help our police to do the jobs they do, and they are the finest in the world. Quickly, in Spanish, (speaking Spanish).
With that, I turn back to Commissioner Jim O'Neill.
O'NEILL: All right, thank you, Mr. Mayor. So I'm going to give you an update on last night's incident and what's going on right now. So we have two separate crime scenes. Keep in mind we're in the middle of a very complex, post-blast investigation and there are a number of agencies involved. There's, of course, the NYPD, the FBI, the ATF and the state police, so there are many agencies involved in this complex investigation. We're still gathering evidence at 23rd Street, and we did find some components indicative of an IED. We are - we moved a device from 27th Street up to Rodman's Neck last night, and the bomb squad is in the process of working on that device right now. So, of course, they're taking their time and want to make sure that we use as much time as necessary to make that determination, what that device is - consists of. We've recovered video from both scenes, and we're continuing to canvas witnesses and additional video. And we're looking to speak to anyone in the vicinity of either location last night. So we need people to call 1-800-577-TIPS, as the mayor said. We put that out last night. And as New Yorkers usually do, we've received numerous phone calls, and each one of those phone calls is being vetted by our detectives. So right now, this is a parallel investigation with the NYPD, the JTTF and the FBI. And we're always on alert in New York City.
And this is a device, as the mayor said, that went off intentionally. If this happened in another city, of course, we'd ramp up our security. And it happened here, so we'll ramp up our security even more, and Chief Gomez is going to speak about that in a couple of minutes.
Now, we talked about this over the last two years, how we've we foiled 20 plots in New York City. And that was done by very professional, highly-trained law enforcement agencies. And this violent criminal act is going to be solved by those same people - by that same group of people. So New York - New York City residents can rest assured that we'll get to the bottom of this. Right now, we're not discounting anything at this point. And again, we're in the process of a complex investigation to determine who did this and why they did this.
Carlos is going to talk about the counterterrorism overlay. There are a lot of things going on in the city today, and we just need people in New York to rest assured that we're going to do our best to protect them. Right now, we don't have enough information to make any final conclusion. As the mayor said, we don't know what - if there's any political or social motivation, but we did definitely - we definitely had a bombing last night on 23 Street, and we had a suspicious device on 27th street. So we're going to move this investigation forward. And when we finally make that determination, we'll make sure we let everybody know. Right now, assistant director in charge from the FBI, Bill Sweeney, is going to make some comments. Bill.
WILLIAM SWEENEY, JR: Thank you, Commissioner.
MARTIN: This is Special Coverage from NPR, and you're listening to a press conference in New York.
(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS CONFERENCE)
SWEENEY: Good afternoon. The FBI NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is made up of over 50 agencies, is fully engaged. The investigation is still in its early stages, and our thoughts are with the victims. And we hope for quick recoveries for all. The evidence we've collected is being taken to our lab at Quantico for review, and we are following every viable lead as we continue to work jointly with the NYPD and the FDNY and all of our local, state and federal partners.
I expect evidence collection to continue for at least four to five more hours on the street itself. We have not yet made entry into the residences and the buildings on that street. We are very grateful for the assistance and the patience of those residents in that neighborhood. The New York JTTF is also working side by side with the Newark, N.J.-based JTTF. We will also bring additional resources in as we need them.
If anyone has any information, we ask you to use either the NYPD tip line at 1-800-577-TIPS or submit a tip on our website at www.fbi.gov. It is vitally important that we do not inadvertently disclose information that can inform the subjects. I think the public understands the need for that level of operational security. And for that reason, I do not expect to answer specific questions on how much and what we know. Thank you.
O'NEILL: Thanks, Bill. Commissioner Nigro is going to give you an update on those injured last night.
DANIEL NIGRO: Thank you. Last night was a extremely well-coordinated response to that attack, and our members of our fire department was able to identify, treat and transport 29 people quickly. I'm happy to say that, as of this morning, all 29 injured people have been released from the hospital, and that's very good news. The fire department, along with the building department, also examined the buildings that were damaged in the explosion and found them to be structurally stable. There was no structural damage, and again, that's good news. You'll hear a little from Chief Gomez about how they'll - how the police department is prepared moving forward. And the fire department is certainly as prepared, Chief Leonard and I coordinating our people on the ground to support that effort. So that's the news from the fire department.
O'NEILL: Thanks, Commissioner Nigro. Chief Gomez is now going to give you an update on what's going on throughout the city right now. Carlos.
CARLOS GOMEZ: Well, good afternoon. Today, there are several special events occurring throughout the city, actually, in all five boroughs. We've increased our police presence - in each of these events, We've added more officers to it. We've also added more counterterrorism officers, as well as heavy weapons teams in some of these events, teams from the Strategic Response Group, as well as the Critical Response Command.
Commuters in our transit system will be greeted by more officers also. We'll be doing enhanced bag checks throughout the city, not just in the major hubs. We're picking random stations throughout the city. There will be more canines in the in the transit system, and we are coordinating with our partners in the MTA, as well as the Port Authority. And heavy weapons teams will also be assigned to our transit hubs and certain stations. As for traffic, 23rd Street and 27th street obviously remain closed. We're processing the crime scene. Sixth Avenue remains closed right now from 14th Street all the way up to 27th street, so please avoid that area. We'll try to clear it up as soon as we can. Thank you.
O'NEILL: So just before we take some some questions, I just want to thank all the members of law enforcement that responded to the scene last night. I specifically want to thank the men and women from the New York City Police Department bomb squad who safely remove that device from 27th Street and transported it up to around Rodman's Neck and are right now working on determining what that actually consists of. So I'd like to thank the men and women of the bomb squad.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Commissioner, was there any known significance to the location of the Elizabeth bomb?
O'NEILL: And, of course, we took a good look at that. At this point there's - we haven't made a determination that there's any significance to either either location. Lisa?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Has anyone called to claimed responsibility for the bombing on 23rd Street? Or did you have any...
O'NEILL: Yeah, and, Lisa, at this point no individual or group has called to claim responsibility.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Commissioner?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Commissioner, we have learned that there is a bulletin that went out September 14, warning of increased extremist activity for New York and some other cities. Is that true, and what response was there?
O'NEILL: New York City is always in a state of alert based on us being the number one target in the world. So that's why we ramped up the issue. That's why we have Hercules Teams. That's why we have SRG, and that's why we have CRC. So we are always in a state of readiness.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: And to follow up, just an important thing with Seaside Park yesterday, it was something that you said you were monitoring closely. What specifically does that mean?
O'NEILL: It means we're trying to determine if there's a connection. At this point, we have not made that determination. Now, there was a blast in Seaside Park, N.J., and there's one in New York City later on, so we - you know, we can't ignore that fact. So during the course of our investigation, we have to see if there's a connection. And at this point, there doesn't appear to be one. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Commissioner, the device on 27th Street, did it contain an explosive or was it just the pressure cooker?
O'NEILL: That's what the bomb squad is very carefully working on right now. And we want to be able to take that apart to see. To see what exactly it consists of. Yes, sir?
MARTIN: That's the commissioner of the New York City Police Department, James O'Neill. We've been hearing him along with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials in that city talking about what they are trying to learn in relationship to that explosion that went off in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan last night. And I'm joined by reporter Cindy Rodriguez of our member station WNYC in New York.
Cindy, we heard Mayor de Blasio say, again, this is a serious incident. He doesn't want anyone to jump to conclusions and that there are no easy answers. So we didn't get a whole lot of clarity on this right now.
RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, we did not. There were not a lot of solid answers here. He sort of repeated what we already know. He did say that there is no specific evidence that would link what happened in Manhattan to what happened in New Jersey, but that they are not ruling anything out. He also did say - and I guess clarified to some degree - that the device that was found on 27th Street that did not go off was taken by the NYPD bomb squad to Rodman's Neck in the Bronx so that they could analyze it and see how it's constructed.
MARTIN: The mayor also said he wants all options on the table. It is unclear, he said, whether or not this was something that was personally motivated or if there was a political motivation. So really, they are in early stages of this investigation.
RODRIGUEZ: Yes, that's right. And I believe it was an FBI official who said that he would not disclose or answer any specific questions that could inform the subjects, is what he - is how he put it. So there are still a lot of questions to be answered.
MARTIN: Obviously, there's going to be a heavier security presence around the streets of New York. We should point out, that was going to be the case anyway, to some degree, because the U.N. General Assembly is taking place.
RODRIGUEZ: Yes, that's right. And when the U.N. General Assembly is in town, there is always heightened security. Now there will be even more. We already know that there will be a thousand more National Guard and state troopers.
But on top of that, city officials said that there would also be NYPD doing random bag screening checks at the subways, and that there would be heavy weapons teams at some of the events that were planned already for today. So New Yorkers can certainly expect to see a heavier police presence.
MARTIN: We heard the police commissioner say they had evidence that this was an IED. We think of that terminology and being used in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But that simply means an improvised explosive device. Did we learn anything new about that device in these remarks?
RODRIGUEZ: No. He did call it that for the first time, but beyond that we still don't know a lot. I guess the bomb squad is having - after having delivered it the - hopefully we'll have some answers soon about how that bomb was constructed and how it's connected to the explosion on 23rd Street.
MARTIN: Obviously, an unfolding story. We've been talking with WNYC's Cindy Rodriguez, who has been following all the developments on this. Thank you so much for joining us, Cindy.
RODRIGUEZ: You're welcome.
MARTIN: And this has been a special WEEKEND EDITION update from NPR News. We'll be following this story throughout the day on our program and online. You can hear updates later on Weekend All Things Considered and tomorrow on Morning Edition.
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