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They wanted to come here

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
April 25, 2013 1:53:52 PM PDT
My dad used to challenge me whenever I posed the "what if" question. Ok, he'd say, "but 'what if' my grandmother had had b***s - she'd have been my grandfather!"

I thought about my dad's smarter-than-it-sounds admonition to me when I was a kid as I listened to Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Kelly explain how the FBI told them last night that the brothers Tsarnaev had planned to come to New York City and bomb Times Square. They had 6 devices - 5 pipe bombs and one of their infamous and deadly pressure cooker bombs.

Let's remember that Dzhokhar, the 19-year-old surviving brother, had originally told the FBI that he and his bro planned to head to New York City "to party" after the bombing. So why the change in his story? Why would he lie about that? I've no answers, just questions.

But life got in the way. They carjacked a Mercedes SUV, and, when they stopped at a gas station, the car owner escaped, leaving his cell phone in the car, which allowed cops to track the brothers which in turn led to the (for Tamerlan Tsarnaev) deadly shootout which spoiled their plans for Times Square.

The "what if?"

Mayor Bloomberg made a big deal today about all the surveillance cameras in and around New York City, as if that somehow would be a deterrent to the bombers. But there were plenty of surveillance cameras at the Boston Marathon, and that didn't stop the bombings. I'm just sayin'.

And if I seem a bit skeptical about this what-if scenario, consider the response from the FBI, which apparently heard from Mr. Tsarnaev several days ago, but waited until last night to say anything to the NYPD. One source tells ABC News that it's a bit surprised about the sky-nearly-fell reaction from New York officials. "There was talk, nothing more than talk," said one source. And remember, please, that Tsarnaev stopped talking to the FBI on Monday, after he was read his Miranda rights. So that means the FBI waited more than 2 days to let the NYPD know about a possible attack? If it were such a big deal, why would the FBI wait so long? Is there something a bit fishy here?

Of course, the FBI and the NYPD haven't exactly been blood brotherly over the years, and the FBI certainly has its own problems with the Boston bombing brothers, given that the older brother was on a watch list and managed to go to and come back from Russia last year.

Meanwhile, there's reaction - as in much more security at the NFL Draft in Midtown. We'll have latest on the story, tonight at 11.

One more thought as long as we're on security: It's great that there's more Wi-Fi service in the subways - 30 more stations announced today - but if security in the subways is such a worry, why allow cell phones to work? Aren't some bombs set off by cell phones? I'm just sayin'.

Also at 11, we'll have the latest on Syria, where the White House now says with "varying degrees of confidence," that Pres. Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people.

Sarin gas is suspected to have been used at least two and possibly three times against Syrians in that country's civil war - twice in March and once in December. This is crossing a "red line" that Pres. Obama a while ago warned would not be tolerated. So what now? Will the U.S. take action? We'll have the latest, at 11.

We'll also have an exclusive jailhouse interview with the driver accused of killing a family in Brooklyn, in a horrendous hit-and-run last month. Julio Acevedo in an exclusive interview with our investigative reporter Sarah Wallace talks about why he ran away.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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