The NYPD (NY Police Department) released a study yesterday outlining several years of research into domestic terrorism, particularly as it relates to NY.
Some quick background. I have done work with several agencies, as I have described before. The universal response of all of them, is that within NY, at least, the NYPD has the best intel, and is the best agency in the world with regard to identifying, and dealing with threats.
In fact, I was told directly by Secret Service agents, that everywhere else in the world they take over the security in any area but in NY they allow the NYPD to take the lead in any security arrangements, or area prep, etc.
What makes the study so interesting and useful are two things. First is it’s purpose. Unlike the National Intelligence Estimate or any think tank documents, this is a paper that is very results driven. i.e. the practical need for NYC to prevent attacks. There is no politics being played here as everyone in the department underneath the commissioner are non political. There is also the local law enforcement tendency to be non “PC” so to speak.
The second interesting thing is the reaction to the study, which is what I will get into below.
They used several dozen cases to study the development of the radical ideology, how recruits were “turned” or brought into the sphere, etc.
They described 4 phases of the process: pre-radicalization, self-identification, indoctrination and jihadization. Pre-radicalization, it said, “describes an individual’s world — his or her pedigree, lifestyle, religion, social status, neighborhood and education — just prior to the start of their journey down the path of radicalization.” Self-identification, it said, marks the point where people begin to explore militant Islam “while slowly migrating away from their former identity.” Personal crises — such as losing a job or suffering from racism — can serve as a catalyst for this “religious seeking,” the report said. While people can move gradually through the early phases, over two or three years, they can pivot quickly toward violence, the report said. The Internet, it said, can enable them.
As part of the self identification phase, the study talks about tell tale signs like adoptin traditional Muslim dress, or giving up things like drinking, smoking etc.
So, immediately groups labeled the report as racist. Saying that those things would be considered positive developments in anybody else.
Of course this is true. But this is where the rush to PC is absurd. The immediate charge is racial profiling.
Of course, this can be a danger. But when someone who is not political suddenly changes their lifestyle, and it is NOT just with these things, as the study makes clear, the police, whose job it is to PREVENT, should always err on the side of caution.
Much is made of the “humiliation” that Palestinians suffer at the border crossings with Israel. I won’t get into the fact that they are international borders no different than anywhere in the world, and at ALL borders you are subject to searches, etc, particularly crossing borders of states at war; but rather, NEVER is it mentioned that everyone, I repeat everyone, in Israel is subject to this on a daily basis.
The Israelis have learned that to prevent, you must actually do something.
When I go into the big mall in Jerusalem, I must walk through a metal detector, and if I have a bag, guards search it. Fact of life.
Agencies who have their “feet on the ground” so to speak, as opposed to politicians, rarely play these types of PC games, worrying about racial profiling, etc.
That is why, the FBI did, in fact, note Arab nationals taking flying lessons, before 9/11. Unfortunately, interagency squabbling prevented anything from being done.
But what if they had been told that you couldn’t identify them as Muslims? What is the point of the report then?
There is a fine line to walk here, however, patterns must be studied.
The NYPD was careful to note the difference between potential terrorists here at home, versus anywhere else in the world. In fact, describing the fact that they could not really comment on that situation.
I sleep better at night knowing the NYPD has the biggest and best anti-terrorist force in the world, and know for a fact of dozens of attacks that have been stopped before they happened.