With so much misinformation being tossed about in the wake of the Boston bombings, it is hard to make heads or tails of what is really going on. On radio this morning, Pat and Stu spoke to TheBlaze’s counterterrorism expert and Real News contributor, Buck Sexton, to get a better idea of how authorities proceed in the aftermath of an event like this.
Buck has tremendous experience in the field, working as an officer in the CIA, assigned to the Counterterrorism Center and Office of Iraq Analysis. He also served as an analyst for the NYPD Intelligence Division. He has experience in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.
When Faisal Shahzad attempted to bomb Times Square in May 2010, Buck was with the NYPD. Though that attempt was ultimately thwarted, he explained the franticness at the scene in the hours following the event. “We started pulling out black boards and white board and preparing for staying in the office for days on end if we have to,” Buck said. “There's a sense of responsibility. I don't want to speak for any of the law enforcement in Boston… but we wanted to get in as quickly as possible to stop the perpetrator.”
It has become easy to forget the constant threat the United States is under because in the wake September 11, 2011, the majority of terrorist plots against the U.S. have been averted in the early stages. Buck reiterated that while we have grown somewhat accustomed to hearing about the foiling of such plans, we are immune from attack.
“It's weird to think about it in these terms,” he said. “We've gotten very lucky a couple of times in the past few years. The underwear bomber – if he was better at what he was doing, he would have blown up the plane. And the Times Square bomber – it was faulty bomb making that stopped him.”
In this particular situation, the high-profile nature and sheer size of the event made it nearly impossible to completely secure the entire marathon course. “Everything I've seen and read about thus far for the precautions beforehand would be what I would expect, quite honestly, for an event of this profile that draws the kind of crowd the Boston Marathon does.”
Many people have questioned why there is not more information available about potential suspects given the fact that most major cities in the U.S. have come to resemble a surveillance state. Buck explained that at this time it is possible the investigators are withholding such information for security purposes. “We don't know what they have at this point. I am surprised we don’t have more at this point,” Buck said. “But they could be playing it close to the vest. Anything they have that is actionable intelligence, they're going to want make sure they are tight-lipped about for obvious reasons.”
“I think they're going to figure out who did this,” he continued. “I'm even more confident that they'll be able to track them down quickly. I think they're going to know. There are too many cameras; too many eyes on this area.”
Glenn spoke on radio this morning of how Boston looked and sounding more like the war-torn Middle East than a bustling U.S. metropolis in the aftermath of the bombing. It causes somewhat of a helpless feeling because using the IED approach, this kind of attack seems virtually impossible to prevent.
“This is the nightmare scenario,” Buck said. “You've got 26 miles of target when you're talking about a marathon with terrorists casing and surveying this area. They have the ability to try to get a sense of where the weak spots will be and quick routes of egress for them to get away. We're very fortunate the vast majority of the world has no interest in doing this kind of horrific and psychopathic violence. The best thing we can do is stop the guys that are trying to do it.”
Ultimately, Buck warned Americans against exchanging liberty for an inflated sense of security. Major cities like Boston, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and others already have tremendous surveillance mechanisms in place, but the government has already proven its willingness to implement more in the wake of events like this.
“After an incident you're going to see more calls for federal funding – more data bases and digital encroachments on our daily lives. And right now people are going to want it,” Buck explained. “Right now people will say, ‘Why don't we have the data we need?’ If we don't have it, the government is going to make sure we do for next time. Unfortunately at some point, and it may be years away, there will be another attack. We have to understand that.”