How would you compare the security of London’s transit system to that of the United States?
I would rate it better than the one in the United States; that’s the most frightening aspect of this. The Brits, and I’ve worked with them closely, have been very aware of problems on their transportation grid and have been dealing with this for many many years. They have a system that’s employed technology and early warning in terms of intelligence and education, yet look what happened to the tube. It was made vulnerable. Especially if it plays out that these types of incidents were suicide bombers, rather than bombs which were placed, it bodes an even more horrible future for us here in the Western world.
Do you believe Al Qaeda was behind the July 7, 2005 terror attacks in London?
Yes, even if I don’t have direct evidence that it was Al Qaeda. This walks like the duck of Al Qaeda, quacks like the duck of Al Qaeda, and it is Al Qaeda.
How likely is another attack on American soil?
You can’t rule it out. In fact, this is certainly a symbolic attack on the Western world. It clearly indicates to us that our transportation grids are vulnerable, and the horror is that what happened in London and Madrid can happen here in the United States.
Do you agree with the move to raise the terror alert to orange only for the transit system?
I think at this time, without any evidence, that is probably prudent, as Chertoff [Homeland Security Director] has said.
What additional steps do you believe the government should take to better protect American citizens?
I think what we need is more education. We need to have a better outreach by our politicos. Quite frankly, this is a horror for the people of Great Britain, but certainly can be a blessing for us here in the United States. Why? Because I think Tony Blair is going to become the spokesperson to make the general public aware of what terrorists can do. This is not in any way denigrating the president of the United States, but certainly Tony Blair has a gift with words and is much more erudite as a spokesperson. So I think this will help educate not only the Brits but Americans as well.
With the possibility of another terror attack looming over America, what advice do you have for the public?
Certainly we must be vigilant. I think what is happening on Wall Street today, oddly enough, is an indication that the public must go back to business as usual. That sounds ridiculous to be talking about now, but it’s not. That speaks well to the resolve of the American people.
Terrorism expert Harvey Kushner has been a consultant to major government agencies including the FBI, INS, and U.S. Customs. His most recent book, “Holy War on the Home Front: The Secret Islamic Terror Network in the United States” is in bookstores now.