Joby Warrick, Peter Finn and Ellen Nakashima report:
With 82 city-owned surveillance cameras and scores of private ones, New York’s Times Square may well be among the most scrutinized patches of real estate on Earth. So when a bomb-laden Nissan Pathfinder rolled into the famed plaza Saturday evening, it was inevitable that multiple cameras would pick up the sport-utility vehicle as well as the fidgety middle-aged man who was seen standing near the car, stuffing a shirt into a satchel.
Within 24 hours of the incident, the replaying of video footage of the car and the man, later deemed a “person of interest,” would testify to the spread of surveillance networks established throughout the city in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Elected officials seized on the foiled attack to press their case Monday for hundreds of additional cameras for New York, one of several U.S. cities to champion video monitoring as a means of thwarting terrorists and reducing crime.
New York’s renewed push for expanded surveillance has fueled a growing debate over whether the installation of large video networks is worth the cost, in both public treasure and the intrusion on private lives. In Britain, perhaps the most video-surveilled country in the world, a top law enforcement official described the embrace of surveillance as an “utter fiasco.”
Read more in the Washington Post.