Spain's media is reporting that the CIA warned Spanish authorities at least two months ago about a potential terrorist attack in Barcelona's Las Ramblas district, but Rep. Pete King said Friday that such warnings, unless made more specific, likely won't make a difference.
"It is so early into this and it is it important to find out exactly what the CIA told them and how they reacted to it and how specific it was," the New York Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program.
"You can get all of the warnings in the world and unless it is specific, odds are still against you."
Spain, he continued, has done an "excellent job" fighting terrorism, and has arrested hundreds of Islamic terrorists over the past few years.
"Since 2004, there hasn't been an attack," King said, but the country's border with Morocco is problematic.
According to The Telegraph in London, quoting Spanish media, the CIA notified the Catalonian regional police force in June that Barcelona was a key target for jihadists.
But even with the notice, and even had physical barriers been erected in the popular tourist spot in Barcelona where a van plowed into vacationers Thursday, it may have made little difference, King said.
"No matter how many physical barriers, odds are in favor of the terrorists, unless we have inside information and surveillance and monitoring the community and find out in advance about the attack and stop them," said King.
It was easier for the United States to take security measures after the 9/11 attacks, said King, because airports are more easily secured.
"Everyone has to depart through the same entrance," King said. "There is surveillance and you have the metal detectors."
But on the streets, the threat of vehicles hitting pedestrians is much more hard to control, because so many people are out in the open, King said, and he does not know if "we can ever say we have gone as far as we can."
"The NYPD was out there as of yesterday, looking at what happened to Barcelona and applying it to New York," King said. "Anywhere you can secure, you will find the NYPD bringing about that security. You can't do it 100 percent. But changes will be made and there will be methods adopted and adopted to try to prevent these attacks in the future, or make it difficult as you can for the terrorist."
King also pointed out that Barcelona attack was not carried out by a lone wolf attacker, but through a "well-organized plot and cell" that will need to be rooted out.
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