Thursday, August 04, 2005

Modus Operandi

We're learning more about last month's deadly terrorist bombings in London, thanks to the New York Police Department. The NYPD--smartly--dispatched a team of detectives to England shortly aftet the attacks to monitor the investigation and absord lessons learned by their British counterparts.

With the Brits' permission, the NYPD held a press conference yesterday, outlining the relative ease with which the terrorists manufactured their deadly weapons, and transported them to attack locations. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly notes that the tactics used in London could be easily adapted to other locations.

The British investigation also underscores the potential role of the public in observing and reporting suspicious activity. For example, some of the homicide bombers from Leeds lived in a flop house--equipped with commercial-grade refrigerators to keep bomb materials at the proper temperature. It's likely that the terrorists obtained these refrigerators from an appliance dealer--but no one thought to question a purchase by individuals with no apparent need for high-end equipment. Likewise, residents of the Leeds neighborhood observed the refrigerators being delivered to the flop house, but no one considered that unusual or suspicious.

It's almost a cliche, but the public remains one of our best weapons in the War on Terror. No one knows your neighborhood or workplace as well as you do. Yet, virtually every terrorist attack has been preceded by signs or indicators that were ignored by residents and/or local authorities. As we learned in Britain, even something as innocuous as a refrigerator delivery may be an indicator of a pending terrorist attack. In the days after 9-11, the American public was reminded constantly: if you see something unusual or out of the ordinary, call the police. Now, as the enemy resorts to new tactics and weapons, it's time for us to be even more vigilant--and make that call.

Meanwhile, our friends at the ACLU are suing NYC over those recently-implemented searches of subway riders. When a homicide bomber detonates himself on a train or bus, or inside a shopping mall or big-box retailer, be sure and send a thank you note to the ACLU

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