Navy Yard shooting: Where was the 'failure in the system'?

How can we prevent security threats?


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 16, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: I have got Aaron Cohen joining us, a national security analyst.

Aaron, from what you heard, and how authorities said that they quickly wanted to take this guy down because if they didn't, he would have kept shooting, it looks like within an hour after they got there, it was done, but he had already done a great deal of damage.

AARON COHEN, FOUNDER, IMS SECURITY: Yes. The response protocol, Neil, for what they call an active shooter, which is what we saw or the chief was explaining, is they obviously have a joint or a multi-agency task force that is properly armed and equipped to be able to respond to that type of threat.

They show up to the location, and the goal of the active shooter team is to just chop seconds off the ability of the shooter to fire rounds. So essentially it's every second you waste, another innocent person can be killed. So I think they did a great job with the response.

The red flag for me -- and the congresswoman, when she was speaking to the media, said, you know, we don't want to pass judgment. But, listen, the truth is, is, you have to pass judgment when it comes to our nation's security, especially at a facility that is designed to protect our nation.

And so the question I have is, where was the failure in the system? And how do we prevent or maintain this multilayered security system that we have heard repeated over the last 10 years since 9/11? Clearly, a specific person, potentially two, Neil, was able to get into one of the most historic naval facilities in the country, and open fire.

So one of these layers failed. And so my question is, how did it fail? I would begin looking at, again, the training of the security at the facility, and, again, it's how do we identify the murderer, which we have learned in Israel -- I don't mean to make this Israeli-specific -- but what we learned over the years is, the profile of a murderer is the same before he commits the act of murder as it is afterwards. There are red flag indicators.

So, it's really time, again, I think to start getting out of this lackadaisical thing, in terms of the amount of time we have had away from 9/11, reinvigorate it, and we do that by constantly challenging our security. It's almost an art form. If you're not challenging the security, then eventually it becomes complacent.

CAVUTO: You know, one of the things we do know about Aaron Alexis is that he did work there. We don't know whether it was on a full-time basis. But we do know he was familiar to people there.

So, do you think, in the security process, he was greeted more leniently than others who might not be familiar to people checking IDs and checking security as they go through various stages of the system?

COHEN: I think -- well, I know from having provided many security hours of protection to schools here in Los Angeles and around the country that there is a sort of security rhythm that begins to take shape. And you do often build relationships with people that you're familiar with, and it speeds up the security system , and it's OK to have that. If in fact you can verify that everybody who is moving in and out of that security system are people who are supposed to be there.

So it's in fact -- I don't want to speculate because the system -- the -- we're still investigating or the law enforcement agencies are still investigating, trying to figure out exactly what his motives are, but the fact is, is if there's somebody who is not supposed to be on the property, that information has to get collated and it has to be collated immediately.

And again I think that goes back to what we call wet system testing or red-teaming, making sure that all of these layers function properly so that in the event of an attack, whether it's terror-related or whether it's an extremist or a disgruntled employee, the fact is, Neil, it's still the same tactic that is being used, which is trying to kill as many people in the shortest period of time in order to achieve whatever your goal was. That testing, I think, is really what is critical here and I think that is what is going to reinvigorate everything.

CAVUTO: Aaron Cohen, thank you very much.

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