Yesterday, a young man who had pledged allegiance to ISIS mowed down a bike lane of pedestrians in New York City before emerging from his vehicle to open fire on the unsuspecting crowd.
The attack bore a grim resemblance to a number of radical Islamic terror attacks that have been dotting the European landscape. France, Germany, England, and other European Union member nations have been targeted in such fashion in increasing frequency due to their open border policies in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis.
In America, we work extremely hard at national security, and had so far been quite lucky when it comes to this new wave of lone wolf attacks occurring elsewhere on the planet. All that changed in Manhattan yesterday, and America is now struggling to understand what could have been done differently to prevent such a heinous event from occurring.
In that same vein, many were shocked and appalled to hear that the man responsible for the attack had been interviewed for terror ties by federal agents as recently as 2015.
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“The suspected New York City attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, was interviewed in 2015 by federal agents about possible ties to suspected terrorists, but the agents did not have enough evidence to open a case on him, law enforcement officials tell ABC News.
“Saipov was listed as a ‘point of contact’ for two men whose were listed in a Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism database and later overstayed their tourist visas, one federal official told ABC News. One was merely flagged after arriving from a so-called ‘threat country,’ while the other vanished and was being actively sought by federal agents as a ‘suspected terrorist.’
“An official told ABC News that the FBI has since located him and he is not believed to have been involved in Tuesday’s attack.
“Speaking on Wednesday, President Donald Trump noted that Saipov had served as the ‘point of contact’ for 23 people. A source confirmed that number to ABC News but said it is unclear if those people are ‘immediate family members, distant family members, or friends.’ Only those two men, however, were listed in the database.
“Saipov, 29, came to the United States from Uzbekistan through a Diversity Visa Program lottery in 2010, making him a legal permanent resident of the United States upon arrival. He has lived in Ohio, Florida and, most recently, Paterson, N.J., where federal agents interviewed Saipov in 2015.”
Similarly, Pulse Nightclub shooter Omar Mateen had been reported to federal authorities previous to his horrific rampage that claimed the lives of 49 people.
Concerns over our nation’s ability to identify and quarantine possible radical Islamic threats has been at the forefront of the national security conversation for some time, but 8 years of democratic capitulant and ignorance of the issue has created a deficit of action in America. Now, with President Trump immediately calling for heightened vetting measures in the wake of the Manhattan attack, we will hopefully find our nation back on the right track when it comes to preventing terror attacks in this country.