(CNN) – A seemingly simple statement, “Based on the information we have now, we have every reason to believe this was an act of terror.” However, it was a dramatic shift from multiple public appearances where New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took pains not to call the bombing in Manhattan terrorism.
Here is the mayor in his first statement just a few hours after the explosion, “I want to say more broadly, there is no specific and credible threat against New York City at this point in time, from any terror organization, but we do want to be very clear, the early indications is this was an intentional act.”
Even as his own governor had no such trouble labeling the event, “A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism.”
Same with the democratic senator from New Jersey, “I think that anyone who takes a bomb and ultimately puts it in a public place with, from, I think it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand you are looking to do harm to others for whatever purpose, to me that’s the essence of terrorism.”
One bombing. Two very different perspectives and behind the scenes questions of why?
It was an approach, at least on its face, was designed to ratchet back the kinds of concerns that would lead to panic and also urge caution about jumping to conclusions, the mayor said. And it was backed by the city’s new police commissioner, “If it is an act of terrorism, we’re going to come out and say it.”
However sources tell CNN the choice was a personal decision by de Blasio tied to the legal definition of the word, one the mayor wouldn’t let go of. He stuck by the position even amid an internal debate with law enforcement officials over the reluctance to say the events were being investigated as a possible act of terror.
It was a reluctance, law enforcement officials noted, not shown by officials in an unrelated attack in Minnesota this weekend.
In the end, a debate rendered moot by the end result: an arrest, and a definitive answer that it was indeed an act of terror.
As to the perceived split leading up to that point?