Shortly before 9/11 there was intelligence showing a great number of Al-Qaeda operatives had enrolled in United States colleges to learn how to fly commercial airline flights. At the time the foreseeable threat was that of Weapons of Mass Destruction like a Chemical or a Biological Weapon. No one had imagined a commercial airline would be used as a deadly weapon by Al-Qaeda operatives. FBI was on the spot for not acting on memo detailing the pattern of unique enrolment in commercial airline training Arizona.
Whereas the intelligence was there, we cannot blame FBI for not figuring out what type of attack was forthcoming. France unlike any other country in Europe has been a constant reference in unique terrorism attacks that happen despite there being an unparalleled security presence in Paris. Terrorist to their best are evolving faster the technology of our age. They attack when least expected but more appalling is that the current actors of terrorist acts are people outside of the radar of the intelligence agencies.
Most recent attacks in the United States spoke volumes of the lethality of lone wolfs. They fund and see their operation from the beginning to end. Going by San Bernardino and Orlando attacks it shows lone wolfs have the time in the world to even write their will, besides openly preparing for the attacks because they raise no suspicion.
To effectively counter lone wolfs, intelligence agencies need one vital aspect and that is the element of clear prediction. The ability to predict does not call for prophets and overseers to seek divine intervention but for intelligence agencies to travel in the minds of lone wolfs. Besides monitoring terrorist websites, twitter accounts, Facebook pages and satellite transmissions, intelligence agencies need to be on the lookout in areas considered terrorist soft targets. Mass gatherings which may include but not limited to protests, open air markets, airports, railways stations, and various official and casual gatherings.
Security agencies ought to be on the lookout for the following automobiles
Public Transport vehicles- buses, school vans, ferries, trains and delivery trucks.
Anything else besides the aforementioned can be used a deadly weapon.
A religious jihadist committed to killing is ready to die, no questions asked. Let us not be surprised by terrorist, let us surprise them.
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