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Letter: Terrorism has evolved since 9/11

French police officers patrol in the Champs-Elysee Christmas

French police officers patrol in the Champs-Elysee Christmas market in Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, the day after a truck ran into a crowded Christmas market killing a number of people Monday evening in Berlin, Germany. Photo Credit: AP

In light of the horrific and symbolic attack on the Berlin Christmas market, as well as the similar attack in Nice, France, in July, it seems that simplicity is the rule for terrorist organizations [“Terror suspect,” News, Dec. 23].

Unlike the years-long planning cycle and highly sophisticated method of attack deployed on Sept. 11, 2001, it appears terror groups are focusing on far more basic tactics now.

Why is that? A simple attack requires far fewer resources and less funding and planning. Quite often, the organization calling for such attacks has no two-way communication with the attacker. This severely diminishes the opportunity for detection and prevention by security forces in the West.

Like al-Qaida, the Islamic State terror group has used a digital platform to call for violence. Recent attacks in the West, like the one in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, were inspired by the propaganda but required no organizational support. These terror groups, in many cases, have replaced their highly trained terror operatives with the highly susceptible yet easily motivated lone-wolf attacker.

Al-Qaida, unfortunately, had the luxury of planning the 9/11 attacks during a period when the United States and other powers were all but blind to the clues of complex terror planning.

Kenneth Bombace, Mount Sinai

Editor’s note: The writer was an Army captain in the military intelligence branch.

 

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