New York City Terror Attack

December 12, 2017

New York City Terror Attack

by Ian D Scofield

Originally I was going to write an article on a general training topic today, then I realized it would be amiss if we didn't discuss what happened Monday morning on here.  Monday morning during rush hour, a former Bangladesh citizen walked into the Manhattan transit hub.  Upon seeing a holiday decoration he set off an IED he had on him.

Now, all of my information comes from researching what happened but here is what I found.

The individual was identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah.  He had researched online about how to create an explosive device after he found ISIS propaganda.  So far officials haven't found any sign that he had actually been in communication with ISIS but the propaganda was enough to convince him what side he wanted to be on.

What allegedly further fueled Ullah was videos of US bombings in Muslim countries.  He wanted to do something to strike back against the US.

Using what he learned online, Ullah made an IED out of a pipe, miscellaneous items, and a 9-volt battery.  He then zip tied and Velcroed the IED to his body along with a second device.

Having heard threats from ISIS to strike during the holiday season, Ullah thought that he had a good time to strike to assist in furthering the cause of ISIS.  The sight of the Christmas decor made him decide to trigger the device early.

Due to the crude design of the device it did not properly explode and the pipe itself remained intact.  The explosion came out of the ends of the pipe.

With all of this there was good news.  No one was killed during the explosion.  Not even the bomber himself.  Ullah sustained fairly major injuries to his extremities as did a few other people.  Two victims were transported to other hospitals and a third was treated on scene.

Police were on scene rapidly and officers were able to take Ullah into custody.  Because of the fact that the IED was set off during rush hour, there were plenty of witnesses to tell law enforcement what happened.

There are a couple things we can take of note from the incident.  Let's take a look so that we can learn from even a bad situation.

For the most part there is one thing that I wanted to highlight more than anything else.  That is the fact that there was absolutely no criminal history reported so far on Ullah.  The Bangladesh authorities have stated to the media that they also have no criminal history for him.  He wasn't on a watch list and no one knew what he was going to do.

This is a very dangerous kind of attack because there it is very hard to detect.  Working on new, legal methods of detecting this kind of attack is imperative.  

Planning for the unknown and being prepared helped to minimize any affect that the attack could have had on the infrastructure in NYC.  For example, if the subject had been given much longer free, he might have been able to set off his second device.

NYPD and other first responders performed well according to all reports out of NYC and that should be commended.

It is also important to note that many people are going to use this as a reason to fuel the immigration debate.  Be ready for this to cause potential tension both in your work life and personal life.  This will be especially true if immigration laws get tightened as those in uniform are seen as the enforcers, no matter what uniform they wear.

While unexpected, this attack came only months after another terrorist attack in the great city of New York.  These attacks are unpredictable and you never know when they are going to hit.  Being prepared and being ready will help you to get through any event.  Stay safe out there.

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