Tags: Exclusive Interviews | ISIS/Islamic State | MidPoint | War on Terrorism | isis | terror | suspects

Jed Babbin: Arrests of ISIS Suspects Prove Profiling 'Works'

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 07:19 PM

The arrests of three Brooklyn men on charges of conspiring to aid the Islamic State is a hard-won victory for the counter-terror agencies that collaborated on the capture — and it probably involved some form of ethnic or religious profiling, says a former Pentagon official.

Profiling "works more often than it doesn't, and that's really the truth," Jed Babbin, a former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense in the first Bush administration, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Wednesday. "And we have not faced up to that since 9/11."

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Federal authorities arrested the Brooklyn residents — two Uzbeks and one Kazakh — after two of them plotted to fly overseas and join the Islamic State in Syria with financial help from their associate, who was arrested in Florida, court records show.

One man was arrested at New York's Kennedy Airport preparing to board a flight to Istanbul, authorities said.

Babbin said investigators — who reportedly tracked the men on jihadist Web sites and through confidential informants — are working in a "very challenging environment," in which "it's virtually a hate crime now to try to profile somebody."

"But this is what you do," said Babbin, an author and senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research. "This what what you have to do if you're serious about stopping terrorism."

"To use the ridiculous example, you don't go to a bunch of blue-haired grandmas in Minneapolis playing cards one day to try to find out about terrorist attacks," he said. "You go to where they emanate from, which is, for good or for ill – obviously for ill – from the Islamic community."

Babbin also criticized the increasing use of the term "lone wolf" to describe recent jihadist attackers and plotters.

"It's tremendous misnomer," he said.

"When you're talking about a lone wolf, you're talking about somebody like Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Murrah building in Oklahoma City so many years ago," said Babbin. "But the point of the matter is these people [today] are networked: They work together, they think together, they talk to each other. And frankly that's how the intelligence comes out so that you're able to stop some of these people."

Babbin pointed to the Islamic State's efforts to radicalize and recruit young Muslims from a large Somali refugee population resettled in Minneapolis.

"They've got something like 30,000 Somali refugees," he said. "These people are being targeted for radicalization. …. Whether you're profiling or not, that's the likely source of intelligence that's going to be valuable and actionable. So that's where you go to get the intelligence."

Babbin said counter-terror investigators from the FBI, CIA and NSA on through state and local law enforcement agencies make their cases by stringing together "bits and pieces" of information until a picture emerges.

"So there's little bit of luck involved in this, but there's an awful lot of skill and an awful lot of hard work," he said. "They need to be congratulated."

Babbin also discussed the growing popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles — drones — and the security threat they pose as they become more common for commercial and personal use under new rules being considered by the Federal Aviation Administration.

"You can do a whole lot with one — all sorts of things from [carrying] biological weapons to cameras to you name it," he said. "So it's going to be a considerable threat."

"That's why you have the huge embarrassment of a drone being landed — I'm told by accident, by some civilian — on the White House lawn, " he said.

Accident or not, "it's a big wake up call," said Babbin, adding, "There's no real reason to believe we are prepared."

"But there are a lot of people who are a lot smarter than you and me thinking about this sort of thing," he said.

Babbin said that in terms of overall counterterrorism efforts, federal, state and local coordination appears to be good, and he said that "we need to calm down a little" and not overreact to every feint or threat from the Islamic State and other terror groups.

Babbin said that today's terrorist threats are not markedly different "from what we've faced since 9/11."

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The arrests of three Brooklyn men on charges of conspiring to aid the Islamic State is a hard-won victory for the counter-terror agencies that collaborated on the capture — and it probably involved some form of ethnic or religious profiling, says a former Pentagon official.
isis, terror, suspects, arrests, profiling, war
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2015-19-25
Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 07:19 PM
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