FBI Must Forge Business Ties to Head Off Terrorism, Bureau Official Sayshttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/
The Federal Bureau of Investigation needs to work more with private industry to share information to prevent terrorist attacks, a bureau counterterrorism official said.
The bureau needs to share warning signs to watch for -- “tripwires” and “threat indicators” -- with companies to prevent attacks such as the one in Mumbai in 2008, said Brenda Heck, deputy assistant director in the FBI’s counterterrorism division. In that assault, 10 terrorists with rifles, grenades and explosives killed 166 people in India’s financial capital.
A hotel takeover with small arms in the U.S. like the one in Mumbai might first appear to be simply a violent crime, she said.
Last month’s arrest of a 20-year-old Saudi student in Texas on terrorism charges shows how sharing information with private companies can be successful, she said. A chemical supplier alerted authorities to the suspect’s attempt to buy concentrated phenol, which can be used to make explosives.
“Tripwires worked,” said Heck, who next month will become head counterterrorism officer of the Washington field office. “Because of the relationships that already existed in those field offices in those territories, phone calls were made.”
The FBI historically did little sharing with private industry, tending to reach out to companies when it needed information, Heck said. Those times are changing, she said.“They are going to be the targets,” she said of companies. “This is a world where soft targets are the name of the game.”