A credible terrorist threat

October 29, 2010 1:36:17 PM PDT
There is, at various depths, for people who live in the greater New York City area, the worry and fear that there will be another terrorist attack. How could we not be worried?

The Sept. 11 attacks, followed by nearly a decade of high alerts, increased security, bomb scares, terrorist cells busted with the help of undercover informants (who sometimes urged these nut jobs on), and a general heightened sense of uncertainty - they've all conspired to make us jittery and anxious and looking over our shoulders.

Until we don't anymore.

And I think I worry about that more than anything.

The non-stop, 24/7 cable news coverage means that every time there's an unidentified pizza box left on the street somewhere, we're going to see on our TV sets neighborhoods cordoned off and police inspecting the box.

Will we look back at today's tense and frightening security scares at several airports - including Newark - and say they were just another abandoned pizza box? Or will we discover that this is some type of dry run experiment by Al Qaeda in Yemen, where the suspicious packages - several of them - reportedly were mailed from?

But it seems clear we're not dealing with a pizza box situation. The President this afternoon called it a "credible" terrorist threat. He says initial examination of two packages bound for the U.S. determined that they apparently contained explosive materials.

For now, there's increased security for cargo planes coming into U.S. airports. And now a warning from the Anti Defamation League to all synagogues to be on alert for suspicious packages sent through the mail or through a shipping company.

We will now likely see a crackdown in security for cargo shipping; it's a weak point in airport security that our investigative reporter Jim Hoffer has been reporting on for years. And it's hard not to applaud the better-late-than-never development.

And just because no one wants to take any chances, at about 3:30 this afternoon, two military fighter jets escorted a Boeing 777 plane carrying passengers and cargo into JFK - just because it came from Yemen. Nothing has been discovered, so far.

We'll have the latest on the cargo security scare, and the day of anxiety, tonight at 11.

We're also following developments on the campaign trail, as the candidates begin their last weekend on the stumps before next Tuesday's election.

The Tea Party, here in New York and nationally, is hoping to make a dent in the political process and score some victories. We will see on Tuesday how well they've done, but one of the people who has linked herself to the Teasters is Sarah Palin. Today - a new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that Sarah Palin is viewed by the overwhelming majority of Americans as not qualified to be President. In fact, just 27% say she is qualified.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's weekend AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports.

I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.


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