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Eric Adams: $5,000 reward for white-flag ‘terrorist’

We surrender — not: Someone replaced the American flags atop the towers of the city’s most iconic span with white flags sometime before Tuesday morning.
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Borough President Adams, above, said that, far from being a harmless prank, Tuesday’s Brooklyn-Bridge-flag incident was an act of terrorism.

The Brooklyn pol held a press conference early on Tuesday afternoon, a few hours after police pulled down the white flags that briefly replaced the stars and stripes atop the iconic span’s two towers. Adams offered a $5,000 reward that he claimed would come out of his own pocket for information leading to the capture of the person or people responsible for the switcheroo, and emphasized that the stunt sowed fear in the hearts of Brooklynites.

“This was a terrorist act,” Adams said. “Anytime you bring about terror, it’s a terrorist act.”

Adams explained that motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists on the bridge could well have been freaked out by the surrender flags, though he did not speculate about what political aims they may have been meant to achieve.

Adams encouraged the culprit or culprits to give themselves up.

“The only thing or person that should be surrendering at this time is the person responsible for the desecration of these flags,” he said.

NYPD brass pooh-poohed the notion of a terror connection.

The pranksters responsible could face charges of criminal trespassing, reckless endangerment — for endangering themselves — malicious mischief, and theft of city property — for stealing the original flags — NYPD deputy commissioner of counter-terrorism John Miller said.

Overhead footage from the website EarthCam shows the lights illuminating the bridge flags going dark at 3:42 am.

The bridge was considered for a target of an actual terror attack in 2002, when an American named Iyman Faris researched cutting its cables for Al Qaeda. Former police chief Ray Kelly boasted in 2011 that security measures, including police cars at either end, security cameras trained on its nooks and crannies, and a police boat in the East River, deterred Faris.

But a Department of Justice press release indicates that he also couldn’t lay his hands on the necessary gas cutters and that the bridge’s design made such an attempt unlikely to topple it.

All maintenance workers’ trips up the bridge’s cables are supposed to be cleared with the police department’s intelligence division, according to Kelly.

— with Max Jaeger

Updated 9:09 pm, July 23, 2014: Context added, along with quotes from Bill Bratton and John Miller of the NYPD.
Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
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Reader Feedback

Ted from Park Slope says:
Terrorism? Really? Come on. I heard about this from a relative who lives out of state. We laughed. We were not fearing for our lives.

Brooklynites are tougher than that, Mr. Adams.
July 22, 2014, 4:12 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Wow. What an insult to real terror victims. And to terrorists. And to speakers of English and those who'd like to learn.
July 22, 2014, 4:20 pm
Andrew Kent from Manhattan Beach says:
This is one clear situation in which heightened security would have violated nobody's rights or privacy, yet our NYPD, and perhaps even our DHS partners, blew it.

Where is the surveillance video from the night vision cameras, presumeably trained on the bridge towers from rooftops in both boroughs and from the bridge itself? Where were the alarm sensors that could have, and should have, been installed to detect any unauthorized access to the bridge's secured areas? And just how long does it take to get an NYPD helicopter into the air, on a clear night, to detect, photograph, and possibly intercept what could have been, not trespassing pranksters, but snipers or other terrorists?

This incident must be further investigated by the DHS, and perhaps even Congress, to ensure that it never happens again, and whoever did this must be caught, prosecuted, and made an example of.

This is not "performance art, a nebulous political statement, our even a tasteless act of simple vandalism. It was a dangerous breach of security that put police officers, and possibly the public, in harm's way, although, if any good does come of this, it will be learned lessons and more meticulous protections if our city's vital and vulnerable infrastructure.
July 22, 2014, 4:32 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
The political position of Borough President is nothing more than another layer of bureaucracy, it's really pointless. You want to talk about terror, what about the gang members throughout Brooklyn that make our streets a dangerous place to walk on? He should be asking what the NYPD was doing at the time. They were probably too busy protecting private businesses like TD Bank or BJs and needed some time off. Isn't this supposed to be a high value target? Or maybe such things are just excuses to tighten up on American freedoms? Has anyone else noticed the TSA is now in Subway stations with the NYPD? Now the tax payers will foot a 5K bill for this?
July 22, 2014, 4:40 pm
Tony from Brooklyn says:
Police officers working in TD bank, BJS etc. are working privately on their days off. They get paid from the business not the city.
July 22, 2014, 5:02 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Day off or not, they are part of the "Paid Detail Unit". The businesses pay the NYPD who in turn pays the officers after taking their share.
July 22, 2014, 5:08 pm
ty from pps says:
Andrew Kent... Umm? What? How did this put anyone in "harms way"?!

The rest of your comment is correct. The fact that the NYPD and DHS didn't detect or stop these folks should be a major wake-up call.
July 22, 2014, 5:25 pm
ty from pps says:
Common Cents, I'm glad you regularly illustrate how you can't read. Where did you get "Now the tax payers will foot a 5K bill for this?" Or didn't you make it to the THIRD sentence?
July 22, 2014, 5:27 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Ty since you have a hard time comprehending the simplest things, who pays the salary for this position? His pocket is the same thing as tax payer money.
July 22, 2014, 6:13 pm
Epiphany from Ex-Brooklyn says:
Someone should offer a $5000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Eric Adams. He's been under federal and city probes for years, most recently as a serial tax-evader. The research really makes it appears that he is quite a slippery bloke.

Wake up Brooklyn. You deserve quality people stewarding your wealth, and you may be being ripped off by a demagogue, rogue ex-cop. Classic that he'd rather talk about a funny white flag-most probably clever art project-than his alleged shady dealings!

See links to sources below:

http://nypost.com/2014/03/04/brooklyn-pres-sought-donations-to-fund-non-existent-non-profit/

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130508/prospect-heights/state-sen-eric-adams-retired-cop-targeted-by-federal-investigation

http://queens-politics.com/2014/03/brooklyn-look-out-mega-developer-with-mob-ties-targets-eric-adams/

http://observer.com/2014/07/eric-adams-fails-to-report-income-on-rental-property/
July 22, 2014, 6:16 pm
All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby from Everywhere says:
We hear the Daily News has some leads.
July 22, 2014, 7:33 pm
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Someone did this because they could, that's all.

Once again Eric Adams is behaving like an idiot. I guess he's a fitting successor to Marty.

The "security" on the Brooklyn Bridge is only optics. I've never passed those patrol cars w/out the cops inside either texting or half-asleep.
July 22, 2014, 8:47 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Common Cents, that was the stupidest claim I've ever heard. Once Eric Adams is paid, it's not taxpayer money. That's not how ownership of money works. It's real cute when people like you like to whine about taxpayers this and taxpayers that, but this is really going too far.
July 22, 2014, 9:21 pm
jay from nyc says:
next up, Tal will comment how Eric Adams is paid with his tax dollars and so he will comment on this and say that its probably the transportation anti bike people and this is an act of terrorism which proves him right that all along this is one huge Hamas plot.
All joking aside, this is not an act of terrorism, its not cute or funny to mess with city property or to desecrate the U.S. flag, especially since these people don't own the flags they desecrated. If you want to desecrate a flag your own that is one thing, but this nonsense did actually cost the taxpayers some cash.
I can see how people would be offended by that, and for the record, I am, but terrorism? Ummm no, that is just bolderdash. Unless of course there is more to the story than we are being told....
What this does show however is that all these years after 9/11 we are still failing to secure obvious terror targets and that people have gotten complacent.
July 22, 2014, 9:42 pm
ty from pps says:
Jay -- Not being argumentative here. But I don't see how removing a flag and replacing it with a white variation is "desecration." Seems a bit over-the-top to characterize this so starkly. Seems a lot like when a "real patriot" goes all solemn about a neighbor not taking his flag in at night.
July 22, 2014, 10:41 pm
A. Hess says:
I'm surprised its not a rainbow flag.
July 22, 2014, 11:37 pm
Joe from Brooklyn says:
Borough President Adams is an idiot. This isn't a terrorist act and no one is/was scared because of it. It's probably street art and NYC needs more of it. NYC has become a boring Starbucks/Duane Reade landscape. I wish I could have seen this myself, looks interesting in photos. Calm down everyone. All this noise is because the police commissioner is embarrest that it happened on his watch.
July 23, 2014, 12:55 am
Epiphany from Ex-Brooklyn says:
Thinking about this a bit more, I'm guessing that Eric Adams is planning to run for Congress and spewing all this inflammatory propaganda at the press to rile them up and get his campaign started early.

Because like Hillary, he already seems ready to start the next war. Weren't hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths (and counting), and total chaos and lawlessness in what will soon formerly be Iraq enough? Hillary (and apparently Adams) seem not to think so. Propaganda, fear-mongering and outright lies are apparently how you get attention (and elected).

But heck, forget all that past stuff and let's get to the important issue at hand: catching that flag raising "terrorist" in Brooklyn. This will make us feel better because we are powerless to do a darn thing against the "Caliphate" creeping toward Baghdad. Hillary voted yes to Iraq . All those dead American soldiers so Hillary could keep her New York Senate seat by looking like she was fighting terrorism and wasn't weak. And what did we get? An even more dangerous situation.

Kind of reminds me of the way politicians riled up the press, called a group of people animals, forced the NYPD to find the Central Park jogger rapists at any cost, and put five innocent young boys in prison (then refused to apologize). But Adams knows all about how the NYPD does business. Shame on him! So this is no surprise. He's so easy to read: he's beyond Brooklyn social issues now. He's into a bigger game - being a hero by catching "terrorists."

Maybe a temporary white flag in Brooklyn ain't that bad of an idea (could never happen in Manhattan though).
July 23, 2014, 2:34 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Common, I understand that you can add "as far as I'm concerned" to your idiotic statements as a sort of qualifier to make them less vulnerable to ridicule, but it's not going to work here. That is a truly stupid claim. You have no claim on this man's money once it's paid to him.

You could say that if he wants to waste his money on such stupid stunts, he obviously has too much of it--Bloomberg on a smaller scale. That would be a fair criticism. You can say the entire office of borough president is a waste. That's an argument worth making.
July 23, 2014, 6:39 am
Jay from Nyc says:
Ty to answerr your question on desecrating flag, my understanding based on initail reporting is that the flags may have been bleeched.
July 23, 2014, 7:14 am
Won't somebody think of the children?! from Over here says:
—— please!

This is what happens when you replace a fun having borough president who understands the difference between fear and Brooklyn indifference with a stick-in-the-mud who sounds like a protege of the "fear everything!" Group of humans.
July 23, 2014, 8:06 am
George from Flatbush says:
Why are we asking about nypd and dhs, the NYC dot is responsible for the bridge. Ask polly trots to explain what happened.
July 23, 2014, 8:57 am
Brooklyn Man says:
It was probably some stupid hipster that did this. A terrorist is not gonna waist his time switching flags. NYPD needs to stop beating people and get the real criminals.
July 23, 2014, 9:28 am
Mark from Sane-ville Brooklyn says:
OMG, it's that Epiphany character! Is she some sort of performance art or just bitter and insane?
July 23, 2014, 11:21 am
John from Williamsburg says:
This never would have happened on Marty Markowitz's watch. Fuggedaboutit! Impeach Adams.
July 23, 2014, 11:40 am
Bim from Slope says:
I'm sure it was terrorists. I mean, what's more terrorizing than not noticing a white flag on a bridge, then later reading about it on some 2 cent blogs.

I mean, I'm shakin in my pants. Terrorists = 1, Brooklyn = 0.

Scariest. Art. Project. Ever.
July 23, 2014, 11:50 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Eric Adams is not the best spokesperson for Brooklyn. "Terrorism?" It was either a performance art piece or an act of political protest.
July 23, 2014, 1:27 pm
ty from pps says:
Brooklyn Paper -- Why was my response to George's dumb comment removed this time?
July 23, 2014, 3:16 pm

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