Dance Troupe Mistaken for Terrorists

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On November 17th, the Lincoln Tunnel was closed for nearly an hour while police chased a group of people dressed in camouflage who were seen running through the tunnel. Officers of the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force as well as armed Port Authority police sped after the suspects, finally catching them as they neared the Manhattan end of the tunnel and forcing them to their knees at gunpoint.

Turned out the dramatic operation had protected New York from the onslaught of eight 16-year-old dancers who were trying to make it to a TV appearance.

The eight teens, part of a dance troupe known as "Ladies of Envy," were supposed to appear on a BET show but got worried they would miss the show when they got stuck in traffic. They decided to get out of their cars (leaving their adult chaperones behind) and run through the Lincoln Tunnel in a desperate effort to get there on time. Port Authority police sped after them and called in the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which led to the dramatic roundup of the terrified teenage dancers.

After they managed to explain the situation, the authorities offered them a ride to the studio but they didn't make it in time. It wasn't clear how long the incident delayed them, but the tunnel was closed for a full 45 minutes.

I guess if your anti-terror training program involves watching a couple episodes of "24," this was a textbook operation. But it seems fairly obvious that if a squad of terrorists did try to infiltrate Manhattan or any other urban area, they would not dress in camouflage to do it, and would not be sprinting.

It just struck me that I am writing about how these authorities vastly overreacted to an unlikely security threat at the same time that the TSA is insisting on the right to look in our underpants.