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News Clash

Terror Attacks And Media Amnesia: An Endless Game

ClashDaily Guest Contributor

John Ligato

(FBI Special Agent – Retired)

“Government’s first duty is to protect the people”…….. Ronald Reagan

I’m both frustrated and fuming at the recurring cycle of terrorist attacks followed by shock, outrage, non-stop media coverage, and then amnesia, until, the next attack. Most Americans will put Charlottesville and Barcelona in their rear-view mirror until the next carnage. We’ve become immune to the images of women and children laying in bloody pools on concrete streets. They merge into our minds with scenes from Boston, Orlando, Charleston, Manchester, and Brussels.

But, we can significantly reduce these attacks and save thousands of lives. What’s stopping us is our politicians and bureaucrats. Do they have some blood on their hands? You bet they do. Counter terrorism can ONLY be successful if we hurt some feelings. But the ACLU, and Michael Moore scream “big brother,” and then the politicians surrender. We’d rather fill body bags then offend groups like the neo Nazi’s, Black Lives Matter, the Council for American Islamic Relations and Hollywood.

These attackers may be lone wolves but they are not unknown wolves. The overwhelming majority of terrorists are known to law enforcement before they attack. The perpetrators in Barcelona, Manchester, San Bernardino, 9/11, and the Boston Marathon bombing were all on law enforcements radar. So why didn’t we stop them? I’ve written a book on this subject but it’s 430 pages so I’ll save you some money and sum it up in 15 steps.

To mitigate 70% of all lone wolf attacks in America we should immediately:

  1. Increase intelligence efforts and then ACT on that intelligence. Intelligence is generally worthless unless it becomes actionable.  
  2. SHARE: Collectively, US intel agencies possessed sufficient intelligence to stop the 9/11 attacks but didn’t share their information. And they still don’t!
  3. Develop human assets (snitches). Put some money into a comprehensive informant program. Jihadists will rat out each other, for enough money, and so will anarchists and neo Nazi’s.
  4. Covert Ops: Infiltrate THESE groups. I penetrated the Italian Mafia and am positive that ANY terrorist groups can also be infiltrated. Be proactive.
  5. Make the Watch List a Stop list for non-US citizens. There are several hundred thousand individuals on that list yet every day our customs agent waves them into our ports of entry, and, nobody is watching them. There’s probable cause or reasonable suspicion that landed them on the list so why admit them.
  6. LIMIT VISAS: Our first line of defense is our embassies abroad. There are approx. 40 categories of VISA’s, which can be consolidated into some functional number with increased vetting procedures. Quit stamping entry documents for every Mohammed who wants to, “visit my cousin in New York.”  
  7. Profiling: A dirty word but a very effective law enforcement technique. This involves hurting some feelings. Whether they be a radical Muslim, Nazi, or an ANTIFA anarchist, law enforcement can prevent them from killing and maiming people by using the proven techniques of the Israelis.
  8. Make words have consequences. Israeli’s law enforcement confronts individuals who are spewing violence on social media, during protests, and on organization web sites. If you want to chant, “Pigs in a blanket, fry like bacon,” you have crossed the line of free speech. That’s a threat on law enforcement officers. Israel not only visits these individuals, but also monitors their movements electronically via their cell phone GPS.
  9. Use of retired law enforcement personnel to supplement active duty officers. The overwhelming majority of retired law enforcement personnel want to join the war on terrorism. Many are subject matter experts who will volunteer their time, but federal law enforcement agencies say, “no thanks.”   
  10. Countless individuals are radicalized at mosques but President Obama’s 2011 order prohibits law enforcement from surveilling mosques and other Muslim organizations. Change this policy immediately.
  11. The overwhelming majority of lone wolf terrorists indicate their intentions on social media, to their neighbors, family and friends. Law enforcement can monitor these individuals until they go “dark.” (encrypted). At that point law enforcement must secure a warrant. Allow law enforcement to follow these suspects onto the dark web.
  12. Extreme vetting. If you are a male over the age of 18, and not part of an intact family then you don’t receive refugee status.
  13. The Wall. Not a panacea, but, it’s one piece of a total strategy.
  14. Rescind Presidential EXECUTIVE ORDER 13491 –This is the order which overturned enhanced interrogation techniques. Michael Hayden, CIA director, 2006 to 2009, stated that, “enhanced interrogation techniques are successful. That’s a fact.”
  15. We are currently utilizing the Army Field Manual on interrogation which was originally written in the 19th century. Solution: Return to the regulations issued by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from September 11, 2001, to January 20, 2009, concerning detention and interrogation of detained individuals.

Some of you reading this will immediately default to arguments of “Big Brother and Civil Rights,” but don’t despair. Given the current grid lock mood in Washington none of these recommendations will ever be enacted. But as Barcelona recedes into our memories just remember that another attack is being planned at this very moment. Then the endless cycle of outrage, blame and memory loss will be repeated because nothing changes, except for the body count. Ronald Reagan also said….“To sit back hoping that someday, someway, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last – but eat you he will.”

John Ligato is a former deep cover FBI Special Agent and author of the new book, The Near Enemy. Ligato is an adjunct college professor, teaching counter-terrorism and international security at Campbell University at Camp Lejeune, and a South Philly native who found himself with the lead contingent of Marines into Hue’ City during the 1968 TET offensive in Vietnam. He captured the 6th NVA flag at the St. Joan of Arc school, which was displayed in the Marine Corps Museum. John was awarded three Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam in addition to other valor awards. The American Hero channel recently featured John in a documentary titled, Against the Odds. For 10 years, John worked with developmentally disabled children before joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he infiltrated the Italian Mafia and spent 8 years in deep cover. The 2006 movie 10th and Wolf is a loosely based bio of his life. In 1999 John received the Attorney General’s and Director’s award for investigative excellence

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