New York’s Subway Tunnels: Not Ready for the Briefcase Bomb?

(New York - Matthew Schuerman, WNYC) -- In the wake of a well-publicized double-stabbing in a Greenwich Village subway station last month, many hands were wrung about the woeful lack of security cameras in subways.

Turns out that New York's attempts to install security devices in subways have been fraught with questions from the beginning.

In the weeks after the London Underground bombing five years ago, New York City officials repeatedly hammered the region’s transit agency for being unprepared for a similar terrorist attack. Six weeks alter, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority responded with a massive $215 million dollar contract to Lockheed Martin.

But almost immediately, watchdogs and oversight officials began to wonder aloud whether Lockheed could deliver on a high-profile promise: installing cameras that could detect unattended bags on subway platforms.

Fast forward to 2010: Large portions of the contract have failed to deliver what was promised. MTA and Lockheed are fighting in court. And the zooming technology? Didn’t work, because it didn’t take into account the hundreds of people who would be passing in front of, behind, and next to that briefcase.

WNYC's Matthew Schuerman traces the history of the contract, from its original promise until today.