By Anthony M. Destefano
NYPD counterterrorism experts and cyberanalysts were probing the origins of a Web image that threatened an al-Qaeda attack on New York, officials said Monday.
The color graphic appeared on a number of Arabic-language al-Qaeda forums Monday, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
The image shows the Manhattan skyline with a road in the foreground and the words "Al Qaeda Coming Soon Again in New York."
Browne said police were trying to find out the graphic's origin and were leaning toward an overseas source.
The NYPD regularly monitors websites and online forums for possible leads and threats, which has drawn criticism in recent weeks. The NYPD insists all monitoring is legal.
Police weren't ratcheting up security measures in response to the graphic, Browne said.
"Odds are it's not real," said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "But you have to check it. It may be the enemy testing us to see how we're going to respond."
"You assume al-Qaeda is doing it," King said, "The question is 'Why are they doing it?' "But Harvey Kushner, a local counter-terrorism expert, does not believe the ad is from Al-Qaeda because the group usually doesn't publicize threats in advance: "Terrorism organizations tend to use a certain type of operation and they don't tend to deviate from that."