A long-scheduled U.S. trip by the commissioner of the Israel Police has turned into an impromptu series of consultations on preventing homegrown and lone-wolf terrorism in the wake of the Boston bombings.
Commissioner Yochanan Danino arrived in the U.S. two days after the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon to meet with officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and New York Police Department, where he delivered a sobering message: “It’s very hard to deal with this kind of terrorism.”
Following his meetings with U.S. law-enforcement officials, Mr. Danino said the attacks allegedly carried out by two native Chechens who lived in the U.S. for a decade appear not to be connected to a foreign terrorist organization, which meant foreign-intelligence clues would be of little help.
U.S. investigators also say the two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, so far appear to have acted without foreign outside direction.
“This kind of terrorism has really bothered us a lot,” Mr. Danino said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s not like conventional ways of counterterrorism help. When it’s individuals, you never know where it’s going to come from.”
Individual or small groups of terrorists follow unique paths to radicalization and violence, which limits authorities’ ability to identify them before they strike, he said.
Still, he has been offering his U.S. counterparts three pieces of advice.
First, he said, make the homegrown or lone-wolf terrorist threat a high priority in counterterrorism strategies. While U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement officials have warned about the homegrown terrorist threat, much of the U.S. counterterrorism strategy has been focused on killing terrorists overseas or preventing them from entering the U.S.
Second, he said, bolster surveillance technology, especially advanced camera systems like the one used by the New York Police Department. That system, he said, identifies suspicious behavior, like a person leaving a bag unattended for too long, and alerts officials of the anomalous behavior. Acknowledging the privacy concerns of a surveillance state, he said all technology would have to be in line with privacy laws.
Third, he said, step up public education and awareness. In Israel, he said, the public is highly sensitized to activities that might reveal a bombing in the works, and they are quick to alert the authorities.
He cautioned, though, against looking too hard for life patterns that indicate a path to violence for a lone-wolf-type terrorist. “Every single case has a totally different story,” he said.
Read more at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL