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Bloomberg on NYPD Counter-Terrorism Record: “We’ll Never Know.”

The mayor, who previously said the NYPD had stopped 14 plots, now says he believes it’s impossible to know for sure how many plots the NYPD has thwarted.

Responding to our story from earlier today on whether the New York Police Department has really thwarted 14 terror plots, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters it’s impossible to say for sure how many plots the NYPD has stopped.

After a press conference on transportation policy this afternoon in Queens, the mayor was asked by NY1’s Josh Robin how confident he is in the oft-invoked statistic that the NYPD had stopped 14 terrorist plots since 9/11. We reported that the figure overstated the number of serious terrorist plots targeting New York and exaggerated the NYPD’s role in stopping plots.

“I could make as cogent an argument there’s double or triple the number that were stopped, we just don’t know about it,” the mayor responded. “If [terrorists] want to attack here, the NYPD has a 1,000 police officers devoted to intelligence and counter-terrorism looking to stop you. And you might look at those odds and say, ‘I don’t want to run that risk.’ We’ll never know.”

“We have to be right 100 percent of the time,” Bloomberg added. “The terrorists only have to be right once and you’re dead.Now you want to make some noise about the study — they can study anything they want. I don’t know how you prove it one way or another.”

Our report was based on a list of 14 plots that the NYPD itself has published on a city website. In March, Bloomberg himself said “we have stopped 14 attacks since 9/11.”

We have followed up with the mayor’s office to see whether the NYPD and the city will continue citing the 14 figure, and we will update this post if we hear back.

[UPDATE: The city has taken down the video of Bloomberg's comments that originally appeared here.]

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