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Did New York officials do the right thing?

Former N.Y. FBI agent Gavin says agrees it's better to be safe than sorry
/ Source: msnbc.com

After last week's announcement by New York City officials that they had received information regarding a possible terrorist attack on that city's subway system, followed by statements from the Department of Homeland Security that discredited the information, some people are asking whether New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his team did the right thing.

Bill Gavin, a former assistant director in charge of the FBI for New York, told MSNBC's Chris Jansing on Monday that  New York's 'better safe than sorry' stance is the way to go.

"I think that Mayor Bloomberg and the commissioner did exactly the right thing in New York. The threat was there, they were vetting the threat to see the credibility of it," he said. "There is no way that Ray Kelly could take a chance and not do something that could protect millions of people that reside within his city."

Gavin said any second-guessing has to be balanced with the possibility that the publicity surrounding the warning was helpful in quelling an attack.

"Homeland Security can sit in Washington D.C. and look at things from another perspective," he said. "However, there was a threat and the fact that it was never actualized in the city could very well be because of the actions that the city took in order to prevent such a threat from occurring."

According to Gavin, officials can't be too careful.

"The other side of that is that if you don't say anything and something does occur, there would be just a horrible situation for everybody to have to face," he said.

Gavin said he believes that security must be beefed up on U.S. transit systems, and believes that cameras could be the key.

"When you look at what happened in London, they have a terrific camera system throughout the entire system and throughout the entire city of London," he said. "I think that perhaps we have to develop a strategy in this country, though Homeland Security and through the advice of people like Ray Kelly who are the implementers of such security systems - we have to develop something in this country that is workable and do-able so that we might be able to prevent it.

"If something did occur, we'd have a much better reaction to addressing it and identifying the perpetrators," Gavin said.

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