U.S. Mass Transit Jitters

New York City police officers stand over five unidentified men who were evacuated from a double decker sightseeing bus, Sunday, July 24, 2005 in New York. The men were briefly detained and questioned by the NYPD. Five men were briefly detained and questioned by the NYPD. Police said the driver stopped the bus and called the police.
AP
Police arrested a man following a bomb scare that emptied Pennsylvania Station and disrupted service on Amtrak, commuter trains and city subways for about an hour.

The busy commuter hub was evacuated after the man allegedly threw a backpack at an Amtrak agent and said it was a bomb, said Marissa Baldeo, a spokeswoman for New York City Transit. The threat was a false alarm, and service on all lines was soon restored.

Police arrested the man, Raul Claudio, 43, on Sunday, according to Manhattan District Attorney's office spokeswoman, Barbara Thompson. He was arraigned Monday on charges of making terrorist threats and falsely reporting an incident. Each count carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

Prosecutors said Claudio has a prior conviction for drug dealing.

The jitters continued Monday when several buildings in downtown Brooklyn were emptied for about two hours after witnesses reported seeing a black canvas attache case next to a fire hydrant. Subway service was halted at one nearby station.

Police removed the attache case and said it contained personal belongings.

The incidents came days after a second bombing attack on London's commuter system prompted New York police to start random inspections of subway riders' bags. Authorities in New Jersey began similar searches Monday.

Meanwhile, an apparent bomb hoax forced a Southwest Airlines flight to return to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif., on Sunday.

The afternoon flight had been headed to Phoenix. Authorities said a caller from the Phoenix area said a bomb was aboard the plane. It returned to Burbank and the crew and 120 passengers aboard were evacuated.

A Southwest spokeswoman said police searched the plane but found nothing. Southwest brought in another plane to take passengers to Phoenix.

CBS News Correspondent Peter Maer reports Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Monday the events in London and Egypt are reminders of the kinds of threats "that continue to plague the civilized world."

Chertoff said the general state of preparedness in the U.S. has risen and "code yellow (elevated threat) is now a more robust color than it was perhaps a year ago."

The nation's transit systems remain on code orange (high threat level) following the latest overseas attacks.

Pointing to the need for a balanced approach to homeland security, Chertoff said while the government must remain flexible, "we will lose this war if we turn ourselves into a fortress."