(DNA Info) –MANHATTAN — American flags were removed from atop the Brooklyn Bridge’s two towers Tuesday morning and replaced by white flags, sources said.
Police were checking surveillance footage from the bridge after images of the white flags hit social media about 7 a.m., sources said.
“Why are there white flags on top of the Brooklyn Bridge?” City Council member Mark Weprin tweeted at 9:34 a.m.
It was not immediately clear how the white flags, which are usually a military symbol for surrender, got there. [...]
An astonishing security breach. Mischievous pranksters, political protest or a terrorist warning?
More photos at link.
ABC has live stream of one of the white flags flying here.
Video of a white flag flying atop the Brooklyn Bridge.
Video of the US Flag flying on the Brooklyn Bridge
UPDATE: This close up shot reveals what appears to be a faded (whitewashed?) US Flag.
NYPD scaling the bridge to remove the flags.
Unsettling. The Brooklyn Bridge security breach could have lasted up to two hours.
NBC New York:
A city employee tells NBC 4 New York the flags are 12 feet by 18 feet in size; the employee estimated it could take up to two hours to take a flag down from the bridge and raise another up
Counter-terrorism measure –FAIL
Officials question how vandals could have stolen the U.S. banners off Brooklyn Bridge, which as a terrorism target is under constant scrutiny.
The substitute banners — which typically signal surrender — were flying Tuesday morning from atop the 273-foot towers on the venerable bridge, police said.
It was unclear who was responsible, what happened to the missing American flags — and how the thieves gained access to a possible terrorism target under constant security.
The Brooklyn Bridge is considered a high-profile location, and there is a marked NYPD patrol car positioned on the Manhattan side of the bridge at all times as a counterterrorism measure.
According to the above article the flags are illuminated at night. Yet the NYC counter-terrorism cop on duty was asleep at the wheel, leaving a two hour window of opportunity WIDE open. New Yorkers should breathe a collective sigh of relief that the breach was not an islamic jihad bomb plot.
Not precedent setting. In 2004 left-wing extremists took a US Flag hostage.
It was not the first theft of a U.S. flag from the bridge. During the Republican National Convention in 2004, protesters made off with the flag and demanded the release of demonstrators arrested by the NYPD.
Reaching the flags is a difficult and dangerous trip handled by specially trained Department of Transportation workers.
(ABC) –Police officials said this afternoon that they have surveillance video of a group of four or five individuals walking onto the bridge shortly after 3 a.m.
Authorities said that at around 3:30 a.m., the lights that illuminate the U.S. flags on either side of the bridge could be seen flickering and then going out completely. At 5:30 a.m., construction workers noticed that two seemingly-white flags had replaced the American flags, police said.
[NYPD Commissioner Bill] Bratton said there was a 13-minute gap between the tower lights going out and the white flags going up.
When police investigated the scene, they found that the two American flags had been apparently bleached and large aluminum tins had been tied to cover the lights that illuminate the flags.
Watch NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton’s Full News Conference: