NYPD

Kerik: To stop more attacks, “you're going to have to profile”

Photo by Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office

On Monday, a man set off a pipe bomb strapped to his body in a corridor between the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the 42nd St.-Times Square subway station. Four people were injured in the attack, and the suspect, Akayed Ullah, is in police custody. Bernard Kerik, former New York City police commissioner, spoke with City & State about the crisis management process after such an attack, and argues that profiling is a crucial counterterrorism tool.

C&S: What is the initial process for crisis management after an emergency like the one today?

BK: There's two things going on. One, the city has to sort of manage the disaster response or the crisis management, and the FBI and the police department have to work on the investigative issue – who this guy is, where he came from, who his associates are, where does he get his money, where was he radicalized? He came into the country seven to eight years ago – how did he get into the country? Did he come in with anybody else, who is he associated with while he's here? He was down in the subway system – you probably have a half a million people in that corridor between Times Square and Grand Central, maybe more, at that time of the morning. You're shutting the system down. There's all kinds of plans and protocols that the NYPD has in responding to an event like this. This is something that Giuliani started in 1996 when he created the Office of Emergency Management in New York City. So the police department and the fire department, they have all these protocols and plans in place in the event that there's a disaster or crisis – whether it's a man-made or natural disaster – as to how they're going to respond, where the resources are going to go, who's going to be in command of that event. These things are already in place, so once it happens, they basically go to that playbook and it unfolds accordingly. So that's kind of how that works.

RELATED: Training civilians as first responders

C&S: Do you think that an event like this will inform future emergency preparedness plans?

BK: Here's what happens. Every time time they have an event like this, they'll do an AAR – an after-action report – in the aftermath. They'll have a briefing between the agencies – what worked best, what didn't work, who did their job and who didn't do their job. What were the lessons learned, how do we deal with it in the future, is there anything we should've done that we didn't, anything that we didn't do that we should've? That after-action report will basically be given out to everybody and they'll take it from there. I've got to be honest: This guy was a dud; the amount of focus and attention was only because the explosive device was on him. You could've had just about anything else going into the subway where you would've had much more of an issue than this guy. This is really nothing. I mean, he blew a hole in his stomach or whatever he did. It would've been a much bigger deal if he had a backpack filled with explosives, and it was – in his eyes – a successful attack. But this wasn't that big of an event.

C&S: What steps do you think should be taken to prevent this kind of thing from happening again?

BK: The most successful way to identify people like this that's in our country today is through criminal and predictive profiling. But nobody is going to tell you that. Nobody in a political position today is going to admit that. You want to know who these guys are? Where they hang out? What they're doing, who they're talking to? You're going to have to profile. And people are scared to death to say that because they consider that racial profiling. But the bottom line is, take any one of the guys that were on the four planes (hijacked on 9/11) – all of them fit a certain predictive profile. Had nothing to do with their racial background. It has to do with a bunch of other stuff – where they went to school, who they associated with, what their internet links were, what their prior associations were. The mosques they attended, things like that. You have to have enormous intelligence capabilities. Which we have. We're a lot better today than we were on Sept. 10, 2001. But if you want to fill a real vacuum and a real void in identifying and locating these kinds of guys, you're going to have to profile.

RELATED: Advocates defend program that let terrorism suspect into U.S.

C&S: This is the second attack in New York City in two months. Is New York more vulnerable?

BK: It's not more vulnerable. It's always been vulnerable. Look, New York City is a target-rich environment for the radical Islamic world. You've got 12 million people that travel, work, visit or go to school in this city on a daily basis. It's target-rich for what they're looking for. And they know that you can't protect every soft target. You can't protect the transportation hubs from people like this. They already know that. So it's not more vulnerable. It's the same that it's always been. And you can go back to 2004 during my testimony to the 9/11 commission. I predicted that this stuff would happen as time went on. And the more successful we are abroad, and in the last six months especially, we've annihilated ISIS in Syria and Iraq. You're going to have an insurgency of this stuff here, whether it's New York City or anywhere else. But New York City is always going to be a primary target because of the amount of people, the amount of tourist sites, the amount of religious locations.

C&S: What do you think New Yorkers should know about how this situation and others are being handled?

BK: I think a few things. First and foremost, there's no better equipped city in the entire country to deal with preventing this stuff and to deal with it in its aftermath if it's successful, or the attempt is conducted. Because New York City has resources nobody else has, whether there is the police department and federal agencies together, whether it's our intelligence capabilities – we actually have New York City cops that are assigned abroad. In the Middle East, in Europe, in Asia, there are New York City detectives that feed on a real-time basis the authorities from New York City on those locations. So, if anything goes on around the world, we know about it instantly. We don't have to wait for it to go to Interpol or anywhere else. So we're better prepared, our responses are better prepared, and so I think people have to realize that. And all that said, you're not going to stop every one of these. There's millions of people. Somebody's going to slip through the cracks. You can only hope that when they do and if they do, that you're on top of them, that they are unsuccessful as this guy was. But that's it.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.