Terrorists Targeting High-Profile Events
In an AP story on increased security at major football (the American variety) events, this sentence struck me:
"High-profile events are something that terrorist groups would love to interrupt somehow," said Anthony Mangione, chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Miami office.
This is certainly the conventional wisdom, but is there any actual evidence that it's true? The 9/11 terrorists could have easily chosen a different date and a major event -- sporting or other -- to target, but they didn't. The London and Madrid train bombers could have just as easily chosen more high-profile events to bomb, but they didn't. The Mumbai terrorists chose an ordinary day and ordinary targets. Aum Shinrikyo chose an ordinary day and ordinary train lines. Timothy McVeigh chose the ordinary Oklahoma City Federal Building. Irish terrorists chose, and Palestinian terrorists continue to choose, ordinary targets. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that ordinary targets are easier targets, but not a lot of it.
The only examples that come to mind of terrorists choosing high-profile events or targets are the idiot wannabe terrorists who would have been incapable of doing anything unless egged on by a government informant. Hardly convincing evidence.
Yes, I've seen the movie Black Sunday. But is there any reason to believe that terrorists want to target these sorts of events other than us projecting our own fears and prejudices onto the terrorists' motives?
I wrote about protecting the World Series some years ago.
Posted on December 7, 2009 at 7:53 AM • 78 Comments