Times Square bomb scare may mean new levels of security in the U.S., says former police chief
The fallout of the attempted bombing in Times Square raises some new, and uncomfortable, questions about the level of security in public places
By Joan Goodchild , Senior Editor
May 06, 2010 — CSO —
As the events related to the attempted car bombing in Times Square unfold, John Timoney is watching. Timony, now Senior Vice President of Consulting & Investigations with security firm Andrews International, spent 29 years with the New York City Police Department, achieving the rank of First Deputy Police Commissioner. He also served as the Chief of Police of the Miami Police Department and is the former Police Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department.
Timoney was on the NYPD during the first bombing attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and was called upon to testify about security before the 9/11 Commission. CSO asked Timoney of his impressions of what is going in New York, and how this attempt might impact security operations there, and around the country.
CSO: As you've been watching events unfold in the attempted bombing of this area of Times Square, what stands out the most?
John Timoney: In the last three or four terrorist attempts, it has been people who have lived in America. Going back to the Christmas day bombing attempt on an aircraft, to the shootings at Fort Hood, these are people who have resided in America, or, in the case of the Christmas-attempted bombing, were schooled in America. They don't fit easily into any kind of a profile. They don't have any kind of pedigree where they are going to come up on the radar screen.
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The real problem with this guy accused of planting the bomb in Times Square is he has gone through the process of naturalization. The assumption is that once someone becomes a full-fledged American, they swear loyalty to the country. But apparently, that's not the case.
There may be a tendency here to be too proud of ourselves for managing to successfully assimilate Arab Americans into mainstream society. You don't see the kind of isolation here that you see in some parts of Europe. I think we may have been too self-satisfied that we didn't have the problems they have in some countries.
But with this person and others, they are not part of central Al Quaeda . It looks like these so-called "average Americans" are susceptible to the stuff they find on the internet. They don't have to go to Pakistan or the Mid-East to get radicalized. And it opens a new chapter for us on what are some of the problems we face.