A Nice-Like Attack? Are the United States Vulnerable to...

NiceTo defend against somebody driving a truck and just mowing down people its a low-tech a very effective weapon said former FBI agent Gregory Shaffer. Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON D.C.  Is it fair to ask if something similar to the carnage in Nice France could happen here in the United States? That answer is undoubtedly yes says Gregory Shaffer a former FBI agent who has worked extensively on national security issues and served on the bureaus Hostage Rescue Team. Ive been doing this for a long time and have the best training that the U.S. government has to offer. I just dont see how that can be stopped. Extremists have called for using vehicles this way before. And authorities said they also found explosives inside the truck and the attacker shot at survivors before he was killed by police.

It could very easily happen here. You look at the low-tech aspect of this attack nothing involved but a white truck says Shaffer.

The nature of this attack added yet another element to the carnage that has unfolded in cities like Brussels Paris Baghdad and Orlando as something as routine as a truck became a weapon of targeted destruction. The attack in Nice France was brutally simple and very difficult to prevent. A truck barreling into a crowd of Bastille Day revelers mowed down bystanders celebrating Bastille Day before the driver opened fire. But experts say the Nice attack is the escalation of a Nicetrend as some attackers are utilizing simple tools to kill increasingly large numbers of people. And while experts also caution that the United States is not France as we are separated by an ocean from fighters traveling to and from Syria and have more experience with terrorist attacks they also warn that the country could be vulnerable to such an attack. Law enforcement officials in the U.S. already on edge after a gunman killed five police officers in Dallas said they were alert after the Nice attack though authorities in major cities said Friday that they did not know of any credible threats. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio who said there were no specific or credible threats against that city said that police would increase their presence in areas like Times Square. We absolutely are on alert de Blasio said in an interview on WNYC. Were on alert every day in New York City. He also said that based on what had happened around the world police in New York had learned to put up multiple barriers around events like New Years Eve or Independence Day celebrations to protect against these kinds of attacks. New York is a good example of a place that has tightened security around what were previously seen as softer targets to attack said Don Borelli an FBI agent for 25 years and the former assistant special agent in charge of the FBIs Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York.
We are vulnerable to a degree but I think the thing that we have that is the big challenge for the French... Weve just been at this level longer he said. Weve been dealing with this longer. And we also we have the luxury of being a long way away from most of these guys that are in Iraq and Syria.
donkey-elephant-flagBorelli said he did not think the Nice attacker would have been able to carry out such an assault in New York City owing to the way authorities there prepare for areas with crowds and deal with counter-terrorism and the citys experiences after being attacked. For planned attacks there is a difference between hard targets which typically have beefed-up security and soft targets which are often public places that are harder to defend or in the case of Nice are spread out over such a long stretch of road that it could be difficult to fully secure it.

The RNC the DNC the inauguration those are hard targets and the terrorists know that. Theyre not going to attack the hard targets anymore.

Theyre going to attack the soft targets Shaffer said.

Shaffer pointed as an example to the difference between a Major League Baseball game which could be attended by 30000 or 40000 people who go through security to get inside and minor league games which could be attended by a few thousand people and are virtually open to anybody can buy a ticket and walk in. The Islamic State has previously called for attacks using vehicles according to the SITE Intelligence Group which monitors extremist statements. Supporters of the radical Islamist organization also known as ISIS or ISIL were sharing the news of the Nice attack and celebrating the massacre SITE said. Pro-Islamic State forums posted old messages in which the group urged followers to carry out lone-wolf attacks in France while SITE said that in 2010 the online magazine tied to al-Qaedas faction based in Yemen outlined using a vehicle to mow down victims. muslimsAfter massacres like the Paris attacks in November and the coordinated bombings in Belgium in March both of which were claimed by the Islamic State experts cautioned that similar assaults were unlikely in the United States because foreign fighters have been able to move between Europe and the battlefields of Iraq and Syria. Still even if foreign fighters are less likely to make their way here authorities are still worried about lone wolf attacks. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said last year that its harder to detect people in the country who are simply inspired by something theyve seen open source in the Internet and they decide on their own to take action. That includes people who are inspired by radical groups as authorities say the gunman in Orlando was as well as those who may have other motivations and still seek the same result. The motivations and machinations have varied but the end result has been a series of violent onslaughts coming while Americans are increasingly worried about terrorist attacks here.  
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