10:43 AM EDT, July 23, 2014
American flags fly atop the Brooklyn Bridge again today after some knuckleheads replaced them with the white flags of surrender.
Now, police are trying to find out who took them down and why. And more importantly, they're trying to figure out how security at one of the city's most iconic landmarks was breached.
Former NYPD Captain Peter Marino told INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent, "It's obvious they had some skill. They're not rookies at climbing. They knew what they were doing."
"How do you get up there?" asked Trent.
"You climb on these cables about 18 inches in diameter and walk up there until you get to the top where you have to get a small ladder the rest of the route," explained Marino.
Extra police patrol boats and counter terrorism units are guarding the bridge today.
An Earthcam surveillance video shows the spotlights that illuminate the flag flickering out at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Twelve minutes later at 3:42 a.m. the spotlights on the second tower go dark.
The lights had been covered with large aluminum roasting pans. The flags were replaced by American flags that had been bleached or whitewashed. The stars and stripes could just barely be seen.
Detectives are studying surveillance video which shows four or five people walking across the bridge just minutes before the first light goes out.
The culprits had to breach two locked gates and then walk up the bridge cables to reach the top of the 276 foot tall towers.
"Although the top of the bridge is very dramatic and has the world's attention, it's not the most vulnerable location on a suspension bridge," said Marino.
"What is?" asked Trent.
"That would be the anchorages on either side," replied Marino.
The New York Daily News front page headline warns: "This time it was a flag, next time it could be a BOMB."
It's the latest and most disturbing security breach at vulnerable national landmarks.
Four base jumpers leaped from the top of One World Trade Center last September and were arrested after posting video of their exploit.
Now, this mysterious breach of security at the Brooklyn Bridge is raising serious questions about the safety of America's treasured landmarks.