Spying on the terrorists


CSPAN had a very interesting author on this morning, Mike German, discussing his latest book, “Thinking like a Terrorist.” Not only did he speak about the insights gained from living with terrorist groups while an undercover FBI agent, but he also spoke about how ineffective many of our approaches and agencies are in dealing with terrorism.

For instance, Mr. German is very much against wide sweeping powers that grant agencies greater powers to detain and question suspects. He believes that by lessening control and oversight, there is a danger for agents and law enforcement officers to concentrate more on quantity of arrests and concentrate less on quality of information.

Mr. German also believes that spending a lot of money on equipment and technology does not necessarily make a community any safer. He cites the example of London and the much talked about “Ring of Steel”. However, all of those surveillance cameras did nothing to prevent the London bombings, when young men were able to transport bombs in their back packs. He said that there are so many video cameras placed throughout the British capital that an average person walking around London is photographed approximately three hundred times a day, yet those same cameras were not able to prevent the bombers.

This is an interesting view, especially when one considers that surveillance cameras are being considered for cities throughout the U.S. like they are in London. Mr. German raised another interesting point regarding religious fanatacism. He said that while the focus today is on Islamic terrorists, few stop to consider that domestic terrorist groups such as the Aryan Nation, had and continue to have strong ties to Christianity. Mr. German pointed out the full name of the Aryan Nation is; Church of Jesus Christ-Christian Aryan Nation.

No matter what church or beliefs they are alligned with, terrorists come in many different forms. Mr. German knows that better than most. After the Oklahoma bombing by Timothy McVeigh, Mr. German successfully infiltrated an anti-Government anarchist group and helped to bring them down before they perpetrated any of the heinous crimes they were planning.

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