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NYC - Caller Warns of "Massive Explosion" - "Car Was Only a Diversion" - Cyanide Found on Man in Subway Tunnel

By Julia Bodeeb, Associated Content News,  May 2 2010

The FBI is investigating an ominous 911 call that was made at about 4 a.m. on Sunday morning. The NY Times reports that the person said "There would be a massive explosion soon and the car in Times Square was only a diversion." Homeland Security investigators are looking into this threat and the SUV car bomb left in Times Square.

This threatening phone call reawakens all of the memories of 9/11. Let's hope the Feds find out who made this call quickly and determines if they have any links to known terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda.

Call Made at W. 53rd Street

The early morning phone call was made from a pay phone located at West 53rd Street and 7th Avenue. Investigators have dusted the phone booth for fingerprints and searched the area for any other evidence.This call to 9aa was made less than ten blocks uptown from where the SUV was left with a bomb device the evening before. Officials still do not know who was responsible for the SUV bomb, which started to detonate but was ineffective.

Links to Iraq?

The NY Times has pointed out similarities between the bomb in the SUV and the failed car bomb terrorism attacks abroad in the summer months of 2007. Iraq was believed to be involved in those incidents per federal authorities. They occurred in the London theater district and near bars; another similar incident occurred around that same time at the Glasgow airport. Investigators are going to be reviewing security tapes from a lot of businesses in Times Square. Because this location is deemed very high risk for a terrorism attack, there are many cameras stationed in the area.

3 Terrorism Scares in NYC this Weekend

Thus NYC has had three terrorism alarms this weekend. First, a young man was found in a subway tunnel with cyanide tablets, next, an SUV with a bomb device was left in Times Square, and now a threatening phone call was received by 911.It is important for everyone in NYC, residents and tourists too, to report anything suspicious they see or hear to the police. Also, if you notice something suspicious, take a picture of it with your cell phone, if you carry one.

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Regarding the next story - how likely is it that someone about to take their own life would impersonate a transit worker?  How did he just happen to end up at the most vulnerable spot in NYC for a terror attack?

Man Found With Cyanide Pills in Subway Tunnel By KAREN ZRAICK

Updated, 6:26 p.m. | A college student dressed as a laborer and carrying a backpack with cyanide pellets, roadway flares and water was taken into custody early Friday as he walked along the subway tracks in the tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan, the police said.

The discovery of the 20-year-old man at about 5:30 a.m., walking alone in the dark tunnel under the East River, triggered antiterrorism alarms because he was in a vulnerable spot precisely at the center of the authorities’ cataclysm projections.

But the man, a Pace University student, told investigators he was there to take his own life -– not anyone else’s — and the police said they believed his explanation.

He was, however, charged with criminal impersonation, weapons possession, trespass and unlawful possession of noxious matter.

Detectives from the Joint Terrorism Task Force interviewed the man while Emergency Service Unit investigators searched for explosives or other devices along the tracks of the No. 4 and No. 5 train between Bowling Green station in Lower Manhattan and Borough Hall station in Brooklyn.

“He felt he might be able to find an isolated alcove where his body would not be discovered,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman. “He did not want anyone to know he killed himself.”

The man entered the tunnel at the Fulton Street Station and walked through to the middle of the tunnel, police said. It was not immediately clear whether any portion of the man’s journey had been captured by security cameras.

The episode underscored the vulnerability of a system that critics say is easy to enter and lacking adequate video surveillance. Of the 4,313 cameras that do exist in stations and tunnels, nearly half do not work, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials, a lapse that was highlighted after last month’s fatal stabbings on a No. 2 train.

The Police Department also maintains booths at the entrances of the subway system’s underwater tunnels, but the police could not immediately confirm that they were staffed at the time the man entered.

Transit employees on a work train first spotted the man on the tracks south of Bowling Green, wearing knee-high yellow boots, a reflective vest and a hard hat. They initially believed he was a fellow worker and took him aboard, only to discover he could not produce identification. They handed him over to the police at the Bowling Green station. The man was in custody Friday afternoon, with charges pending.

Investigators tested the chemicals at a mobile laboratory, confirming their initial belief that they were nonexplosive but toxic sodium cyanide pellets.

The police said they were certain the tools in the man’s backpack were not designed for any kind of detonation. The pellets he carried, which were in a one-quart sealed can with a manufacturer’s label, are available commercially to clean jewelry. Investigators thought he may have considered using the flares to heat the pellets and inhale the noxious fumes. However, the man said he ultimately decided it would be more effective to swallow them with water.

Norman I. Seabrook, chairman of the authority’s safety and security committee, called the incident “another wake-up call” that highlighted the crucial role played by alert employees in ensuring riders’ safety. As the authority has struggled with an $800 million budget shortfall, it has resorted to layoffs, leading some to become concerned about safety in unmanned stations.

“Had this not been caught, who knows what this young man would have done to harm himself,” Mr. Seabrook said.

The man lived in student housing in Lower Manhattan, the police said.

A former roommate of the man said he was antisocial and depressed, often sleeping all day and spending his last birthday by himself, watching three movies in a row in a theater. But he never mentioned violence.

“He was completely harmless,” said the former roommate, Harold Cuartas, 19, a marketing major.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/30/man-found-with-cyanide-pills-in-subway-tunnel/

Comments

I'm just reposting this - don't get on my case about the Iraq disinfo - I don't believe it either. 

'Dr. Chaos' Hacker Gets 7 Years

Friday December 2, 2005

A former computer systems administrator who called himself "Dr. Chaos" has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for hacking into computers and causing power failures in Wisconsin.

Joseph D. Konopka, 29, pleaded guilty to 11 felony charges of conspiracy, counterfeiting software, arson and interfering with computers. Konopka and six juvenile members of his group "Realm of Chaos" were responsible for 28 power outages and 20 other service interruptions in Wisconsin in 1999.

Konopka is already serving a 13-year federal sentence for a chemical weapons possession conviction in 2002. He was storing cyanide near a Chicago subway.

He also was ordered to pay $436,000 in restitution and spend three years on supervised release after prison. The power outage damages totaled about $800,000.

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konopka Name Meaning and History

http://www.ancestry.com/facts/konopka-family-history.ashx

  1. Polish, Czech, Slovak (Konôpka), and Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic): nickname for an active person, from konopka ‘linnet’.
  2. Polish and Jewish (from Poland): habitational name from some place named with konopie ‘hemp’, for example Konopki.

March 12, 2002 Posted: 8:49 PM EST (0149 GMT) 

http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/03/12/chicago.cyanide/index.html

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- Federal authorities Monday charged an unemployed man with possession of chemical weapons for storing more than a pound of powdered cyanide in an underground passage that is part of Chicago's subway system. But officials said the arrest was not related to any terrorism.

"It's a serious situation," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. "But we don't want to blow it out of proportion so that people are afraid to ride the subway."

FBI spokesman Ross Rice downplayed any terror links to the case. "This is not a terrorist plot," Rice said. "I don't think it's a big deal."


RESOURCES

Criminal complaint: US v. Konopka  (FindLaw document PDF)  

The charge unfolded after Joseph Daniel Konopka, 25, was arrested Saturday by University of Illinois at Chicago police for allegedly breaking into tunnels beneath the UIC Education Building, authorities said Monday.

Upon his arrest, UIC police recovered a vial containing powder that lab tests identified as sodium cyanide/sodium carbonate, poisons that also have industrial uses, officials said.

The school's police called the Chicago Police Department, which found that Konopka was wanted in Wisconsin for failing to appear on state charges alleging vandalism against utility systems, the Department of Justice said in a news release.

The suspect, who has no known address and told police he was unemployed, was then turned over to the FBI.

The FBI's Rice said Konopka told agents that he had been living in the subway system for several weeks.

FBI agents, the Chicago police and Fire Department hazardous materials teams searched Chicago Transit Authority tunnels over the weekend, shutting the Blue Line on Sunday, authorities said.

In an underground storage room whose lock Konopka had changed, authorities found seven containers marked as holding various chemicals, the officials said.

Two containers were marked as containing cyanide compounds, stored among other belongings in an underground Chicago Transit Authority, they added.

Tests determined Monday that one held 0.9 pounds of sodium cyanide and the other held nearly 0.25 pounds of potassium cyanide, the release said.

Officials have found no work-related reason for Konopka to posses the cyanide, which can be used to clean metal. Both compounds can kill humans if ingested or converted to gas.

Konopka also told the FBI he had keys to various CTA substations, and that he had been involved in acts of damage to power, water, cell phone and sewer facilities in Wisconsin, Rice said.

A spokeswoman for the Door County Sheriff said she would not have a comment until Tuesday.

Konopka faces a preliminary hearing in U.S. District Court on Wednesday morning.

If convicted, possession of chemical weapons carries an indeterminate prison term, with no set maximum sentence, as well as a fine of up to $250,000, according to a statement from the FBI.

"The system worked, and that's the bottom line," said Chicago Police Superintendent Terry Hillard.

Chicagoans should not fear riding the subways Tuesday, he said. "Why should they be scared? At no time was the safety of any citizen in this city compromised, none whatsoever."

Asked what Konopka might have been planning to do with the compounds, Hillard said, "I'm not a psychiatrist."

Officials did not say how long the chemicals might have been stored underground.

"Cyanide is a dangerous chemical. That's why it is a crime to possess it without a peaceful purpose," said U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald.

If this information is correct, one of the businesses under management of Dancing Israeli Dominik Suter seems to still be operating.

One of their clients is the NYC Israeli consulate, another the Iraqi Consulate, and another NYC's MTA (Mass Transit Authority):

http://theinfounderground.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=10654

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