NYT: How a Secretive Branch of ISIS Built a Global Network of Killers

August 3, 2016


A jailhouse interview with a German man who joined the Islamic State reveals the workings of a unit whose lieutenants are empowered to plan attacks around the world.

This is an excellent article on pre-attack tactics, communications and preparations undertaken by terrorist organizations ahead of an attack. The article focuses on the “how’s” rather than the “why’s” of a terrorist operation – something we have been advocating for some time now. As this report shows, attacks are not spontaneous events, but carefully planned operations requiring advance coordination and communication between the various cells involved. This article also correctly highlights an important aspect often overlooked by security professionals: the use of pre-positioned operatives in a geographic location. While the media and many governments are focused on illegal border crossings or mass migrations as potential terror threats, the fact of the matter is, in most cases terrorist organizations already have in place most of the manpower and logistical support needed to carry out an attack. While controlling illegal immigration, or attempting to identify terror operatives hiding amongst refugees is important, it will do little to stop attacks that are already in the planning stages right now. Understanding how our adversaries are exploiting our security weaknesses is much more important than understanding their ideological motivations…be they jihadist, anarchist, environmentalist, nationalist or any of the myriad of excuses used to cause harm.

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