U.N. security unfazed by Times Square bomb scare

The U.N.’s security services sought to assure U.N. employees today that the United Nations is not a target of the perpetrator or perpetrators of Saturday’s failed Times Square car bomb. "The U.N.’s Safety and Security Service (SSS) is continuing to closely monitor developments in the Time[s] Square incident," according to a safety update. U.S. and ...

By
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.N.'s security services sought to assure U.N. employees today that the United Nations is not a target of the perpetrator or perpetrators of Saturday's failed Times Square car bomb.

"The U.N.'s Safety and Security Service (SSS) is continuing to closely monitor developments in the Time[s] Square incident," according to a safety update.

U.S. and U.N. security authorities concluded that there is "no direct link between the incident and the U.N. or U.N. ongoing activities this week."

The U.N.’s security services sought to assure U.N. employees today that the United Nations is not a target of the perpetrator or perpetrators of Saturday’s failed Times Square car bomb.

"The U.N.’s Safety and Security Service (SSS) is continuing to closely monitor developments in the Time[s] Square incident," according to a safety update.

U.S. and U.N. security authorities concluded that there is "no direct link between the incident and the U.N. or U.N. ongoing activities this week."

The bomb scare occurred more than a day and a half before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and scores of foreign dignitaries were scheduled to arrive at U.N. headquarters to attend a major nuclear conference.

U.N. officials said Sunday that the U.N. would be "moving to an enhanced awareness level" in light of the attack. But New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Sunday said that the city’s security arrangements at the U.N. were sufficient to deal with any threat.

"During the U.N. General Assembly we have sometimes as many as 130 heads of state at the same time," he said. "So we have practices and patterns of protection that we put in place, working with the Secret Service and others … that we think are effective."

In fact, security procedures were less stringent than they generally are for the U.N.’s annual General Assembly meeting, which draws large numbers of foreign leaders. For such occasions, diplomats, reporters, and U.N. employees require a pass to approach the headquarters building from Second Avenue. Dump trucks are stationed near the U.N.’s 42nd St. entrance to prevent unauthorized vehicles from approaching the delegates’ entrance. No such security procedures were in place this week.

The U.N. security agency said in its latest update that it would maintain contacts with U.S. law enforcement officials and inform U.N. staff if any new "relevant facts are established." Meanwhile, the agency urged U.N. employees "to immediately report any suspicious persons or activities" on U.N. premises.

Colum Lynch was a staff writer at Foreign Policy between 2010 and 2022. Twitter: @columlynch

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.