Just like the man they carjacked last week said, the Boston Marathon suspects considered attacking a second: New York City. Law enforcement officials told NBC News on Thursday that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev admitted to police that he and his brother, Tamerlan, discussed planting and detonating explosives in the heavily trafficked Times Square. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed that at a press conference, during which he emphasized New York's dense video surveillance network and acknowledged the city's history of terrorist attacks. "New York remains a prime target for those who hate America and want to kill Americans," Bloomberg said.
While officials speaking to NBC emphasized that the New York plan went nowhere — one of them characterized the scheme as "aspirational" — Dzhokhar's admission seems to be in line with multiple prior reports that the Tsarnaev brothers had been thinking about a visit to New York after the Boston attack.
Earlier this week, word surfaced that the man whom the Tsarnaevs carjacked last Thursday, as Boston Police pursued them, later told authorities that the brothers mentioned the word "Manhattan" as they proceeded to take his Mercedes SUV. According to The Boston Globe, Tamerlan's words were, "We just killed a cop. We blew up the Marathon. And now we're going to New York. Don’t fuck with us." The potential New York plan apparently spread quickly: CBS's John Miller reports that it "tripped a lot" of alarms, including the temporary shutdown of Amtrak service between New York and Boston.
On Sunday, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said on Face the Nation that the brothers may have had more attacks planned, given the number of explosives they were found with. On Wednesday, however, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly gave a slightly different account, telling reporters at a press conference that Dzhokhar and Tamerlan had planned a trip to New York to "party" and recharge, not set off bombs. Still, at Bloomberg's briefing on Thursday, Kelly said that the brothers were found with five pipe bombs and one pressure cooker — enough to do serious damage in a congested area like Times Square.
These logistical details enter a crowded field. On Thursday morning, a member of the House Intelligence Committee said that the bombers had used remote controls designed for toy cars to detonate the bombs, and on Tuesday the New York Times reported that the brothers may have used consumer-grade fireworks to stage a mock-bombing before carrying out the real thing.