Security Increased After Terror Plots Exposed
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
ARI SHAPIRO, Host:
Good morning, Dina.
DINA TEMPLE: Good morning.
SHAPIRO: So let's start with what's known. What can you tell us about these plots?
TEMPLE: You know, officials are calling them Mumbai-style attacks, because apparently the plots included having small teams of heavily armed gunmen take Westerners hostage and kill them - much like what happened in Mumbai, India in 2008. And in that case ten gunmen essentially brought the city to a standstill by opening fire in a train station and taking over a couple of hotels. And more than 150 people died.
SHAPIRO: Where are you intelligence sources getting the information about these plots?
TEMPLE: And there's a manhunt, of sorts, on now. In some cases authorities have names of people who might be involved. In other cases they just have descriptions or nationalities. So they don't have very much to work on. And now that the plots are public, making arrests could be even harder.
SHAPIRO: Now, you mentioned that these plots look to be similar to attacks in Mumbai, India. Why is that becoming the preferred model? What is it about those attacks?
TEMPLE: Well, it concerns counterterrorism officials, that it might become the preferred model, because, you know, heavily armed gunmen are hard to track. These kinds of attacks are easier to launch, much easier to train for, harder to disrupt. And that's why they're worried. I mean, getting guns and grenades is easier than, you know, securing explosives and then training someone to build a bomb.
SHAPIRO: Now we have reported on this program that there has been an increase in drone attacks in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, just in the last couple of weeks. And there has been some speculation that that increase in attacks is related to these plots. What can you tell us about that?
TEMPLE: There's more targeting intelligence, which has allowed them to order more strikes. And lastly, sources say we can't underestimate how the attempted car bombing in Times Square on May 1st has changed things. It made the Pakistani Taliban a legitimate target since they were behind that attack - so the actual target set, the people that they're looking at to target, has actually gotten bigger.
SHAPIRO: All right. Thanks a lot, Dina.
TEMPLE: You're welcome.
SHAPIRO: That's NPR's counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston.
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