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The investigation, the coverage, the lesson

Yesterday in the nation’s capitol, basically in my backyard, Sidi Mohamed Amine El Khalifi was arrested at the culmination of an FBI investigation where his intent was to fulfil his personal jihad against us.  Khalifi was another example of our flawed system of visitors that come here and meld into society without any recourse.  There is a flawed loop in the system where parents can come in on a visitor visa with their child and leave without him and no questions are asked.

Some years after his failed return back to Morocco he moved to Northern Virginia and the the rest is history.  The news coverage after the arrest was sketchy until information started to make sense to report.  As the information started to flow it was apparent that the arrest was a planned undercover operation that the FBI had formatted to make Khalifi feel that he was being provided with all of the information and equipment he needed to carry out his plan.  Ultimately he was given a non deploy-able bomb and arrested as he attempted to actuate his plan.

Let me take a look at this from another perspective.  We all know that many attacks are done with a dry run.  For a minute let’s try to think about the possibility if this was planned  by a group.  What would they learn?  The first thing is that Khalifi can, in many ways, identify the confidential informants.  Subsequent attack efforts can help them know who not to deal with.  Secondly, it gives an idea of how an investigatioj like this takes place.  Law enforcement has to be very careful of the entrapment issue and in doing so this can show how such an undercover investigation must unfoil.  Before the actual resports stated that the dumb bomb was planted by the FBI, I had alsready sent several messages to clienst and friends to evacuate the city.  It was better for all of them to be safe at home and away from the city than to sit there and wait for the news to trickle out.

As protection specialists we have to come to grips that there are hundreds of other Khalifi’s in our country that appear to live normal lives.  These are the “Sleeper” cells that only take one or a series of incidents to occur and wake up the sleeping giant from within.  At this point there is no reason that Khalifi decided to stay here in 1999 for any other reason than the American dream.  Of course he could have been told to stay until he was given the call to duty command.  The issue here is that there are others like him here, many that have no ill intent but others that do.  Primers like Syria and Iran can change anyone to empathize or sympathize with a cause.

So let us not rest on our laurels with the feeling of “Got you” and fall back into normalcy.  It’s time to rise and get to duty.

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