P1 Interactive: What should LEOs do about terrorism?


What do you  think?

In an Associated Press report this week, FBI Director Robert Mueller said that “his agency will continue to use informants inside American mosques.”

Good.

You’ve got to fish where the fish are, and for good or ill, the people who identify themselves as “Jihadists” tend to turn up in places like, um, mosques.

Bully for you, Director Mueller, for telling it like it is.

You could say (in fact, one P1 Member already has) that such use of informants is “Police Work 101.”

Let’s look at a recent example.  Infiltration by Maryland State Police officers into anti-war and anti-death penalty groups in recent years (and revealed last July) sparked controversy and was widely condemned as “spying” on activist groups. Whether or not true Jihadists would expose themselves in a public demonstration is a debatable idea, but the action by Md. State Police was (and is) no different from undercover officers working any other investigation into possible criminal conspiracy.

For an even more recent example we have to only remember as far back as last month. Consider the fact that the four men involved in the plot to bomb a New York synagogue and shoot down an American military aircraft were “ex-convicts who envisioned themselves as holy warriors” according to an Associated Press report posted to P1 shortly after the arrests.   

The alleged conspirators in the case have been repeatedly referred to in myriad press accounts as “Muslims fueled by hatred of America and Jews.” They were thwarted in their attempt to stage a headline-grabbing attack because the FBI inserted itself in the equation very early on, taking advantage of the individuals’ own lack of proficiency.

“The bombs they planted were useless, packed with inert explosives supplied by the FBI instead of the Pakistani terrorist group they had pledged to support,” the AP story said.

It bears repeating: they were stopped because of good police work.

To get the conversation started, let’s add just one more example for contemplation. The Associated Press reported today that the tiny archipelago of Palau (a group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean southeast of the Philippines) has agreed to accept 17 Chinese Muslims who have “languished in legal limbo at Guantanamo Bay,”

The AP went on to say that this could provide a resolution to one of the major obstacles to closing the U.S. prison camp and may mark “a major step toward the Obama administration’s goal of finding new homes for detainees who have been cleared of wrongdoing but cannot go home for fear of ill-treatment.”

This seems like an interesting idea but another alternative has been floated (so to speak) that seems equally intriguing. Perhaps the “worst of the worst” among those detainees at Gitmo might be best held on a U.S. Navy warship steaming across deep blue oceans. Such a vessel would never have to make landfall, would be one of the most difficult places on Earth to locate, let alone breach, and would soon be considered the most-Super of all SuperMax facilities. Perhaps this isn’t the solution, but it’s an idea worth discussion.

What should law enforcement officers here in the United States be doing about terrorism? Let us (and your fellow officers) know what you think by adding your comments below.

What are some of the ideas you’ve discussed with your patrol partner during quiet moments in your squad? What have you read recently that made you think: “Damn, that is a good idea!”

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 800 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Read more articles by PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie by clicking here.

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  1. Tags
  2. Terrorism Prevention and Response
  3. Investigations
  4. Federal Law Enforcement
  5. Homeland Security

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