Other aspects favor an attack Public transportation centers offer easy access

Other aspects favor an attack public transportation

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streets, buses, trains, and subways are vulnerable. Other aspects favor an attack: Public transportation centers offer easy access and escape, if escape is a planning factor. Contained environments, like a subway, increase the effects of explosives and the likelihood of panic and mayhem after an attack. Transportation systems normally concentrate people; these concentrations increase the probabili- ty of mass casualties and effects. The greatest con- cerns in preventing a catastrophic terrorist incident are (1) the threat of covert operatives, whether a sleeper-type cell or a recently recruited operative, inside the U.S. with an intention to assist or conduct a terrorist attack; (2) the clear intention of al Qaeda to obtain and use a WMD against the United States; and (3) the potential for al Qaeda to leverage other extremist persons or groups to assist or conduct attacks on the United States. U.S. domestic terrorists and other international terrorist groups pose a threat too. Political and so- cial agendas include white supremacy, black sepa- ratism, animal rights, environmental protection, an- archism, anti-abortion, right-wing Patriot movement themes, and ethnic Homeland or religious ideology themes. In a recent instance, the FBI uncovered an alleged terrorism plot by Americans to target syna- gogues and military recruiting centers around the Los Angeles area (see the Case Study—JIS in this chapter). The London bombings indicate that a person can take an extreme concept and recruit targeted individuals into a small group of committed terror- ists. He can gather and provide the means for mak- ing and delivering devastating weapon effects and attack while attempting to mask mass murder with a radical ideology and justification. The danger to the Homeland remains real. The largest mass transit systems in the United States sup- port New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington, DC. When Khalid Sheik Muham- med, a chief subordinate to Osama bin laden, was captured, he stated during his interrogation that al Qaeda planned to attack the Washington, DC metro (subway) system. Risk assessment and management is a colossal task for any of the transportation sys- tems. For example, New York City has more than seven million daily commuters using its network of buses, trains, and subways. Consider just the tunnel network of the New York City Metropolitan Trans- portation Authority. The transportation network in - cludes 14 tunnels that link four of the city’s five bor- oughs under three bodies of water—the East River, the Harlem River, and Newtown Creek (Prieto, 2005). In 1997, law enforcement uncovered and prevented an Islamic terrorist bomb attack on the New York City subway system. Another terrorist at- tempt to bomb the New York City subway system was prevented in 2004 before the Republican Na- tional Convention (Hedges, 2006).
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