Businesses Play Key Role in Thwarting Terror

According to an AP report published on www.usatoday.com, an important lesson for America post-9/11 is the workforce’s critical role in preventing possible terrorist attacks.

“A vigilant public and informed local law enforcement make it much more complicated for people wishing to carry out attacks to do so,” said John Cohen, principal deputy counterterrorism adviser at the Homeland Security Department, as quoted by the AP.

Federal and local law enforcement agency programs created since 9/11 have encouraged the public and local businesses to report suspicious activity. And according to officials, these tips have indeed led to many high-profile arrests and then possible prevention of disastrous terrorist attacks.

Federal and local law enforcement agencies have established programs over the past decade that encourage the public to report suspicious activity, and tips from businesses have led to multiple high-profile arrests. For instance, a Guns Galore employee became suspicious of a solider acting oddly while purchasing gunpowder and shotgun ammo. The employee reported his suspicions to police, who later arrested the soldier after determining he was planning to unleash bombs and attack an Army post.

According to the AP report, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said, “The willingness of an individual to contact law enforcement about an event or incident that may be indicative of a possible threat is vital to our mission. It may turn out not to be a threat but at least we have the opportunity to check it out.”

Other business tips that have helped prevent disaster include a Circuit City clerk tipping off New Jersey police in 2006 that customers wanted to create a DVD from video footage of them firing assault weapons while yelling about jihad. The FBI later tracked down six men who were plotting to kill U.S. soldiers. And in another incident during early 2011, Carolina Biological Supply Co. in North Carolina and Con-way Freight in Lubbock contacted officials about suspicions surrounding purchases made by Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari. The man was eventually charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. These represent just a few examples of how businesses and individuals are helping keep America safe.

“I think we can be a force multiplied, which is a term often used by law enforcement, where private industry serves as additional eyes and ears to help authorities to uncover these activities to protect the public,” Frantz said in the AP report.

For more information about how businesses are helping keep America safe from disaster, visit: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-07-31-arrested-soldier-terror-tips_n.htm