Counter terrorism is a cat and mouse game: sometimes the mice win.
KIZLYAR, RUSSIA — When you work in counter terrorism, as I did for fifteen years in Canada, you go to work every day with one goal, and one goal only, in mind. You do everything in your power, together with your workmates, to identify, track, penetrate and, with the help of law enforcement, neutralise plots. In other words, you do what you can to prevent innocent people from dying.
Not surprisingly, terrorists REALLY hate security intelligence and law enforcement personnel for obvious reasons: we are trying to spoil their designs. This is why groups like Islamic State (ISIS) and others execute anyone they suspect of being a member of these agencies or working for them (i.e. a spy/source).
Furthermore, terrorists will target law enforcement and security intelligence agencies to kill or wound those responsible for putting obstacles in their way. The single biggest terrorism plot in Canadian history – the Toronto 18 back in 2005-6 – included a fertiliser-based bomb that would have detonated outside the building housing the Toronto offices of CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service), my former employer.
2010 suicide bombings in Dagestan
On this day in 2010, at least 12 people, including a top local police official, were killed by two suicide bombings in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan. A car bomb detonated outside the offices of the local interior ministry and the FSB security agency in the town of Kizlyar, followed by a suicide bomber who blew himself up 20 minutes later as a crowd gathered.
Chechen terrorist Doku Umarov claimed the attack, noting that
You Russians hear about the war on television and the radio. I promise you the war will come to your streets, and you will feel it in your own lives and on your own skin.Doku Umarov
For his part, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called on the security forces to “scrape from the sewers” those responsible.
The battle between the white hats and the black hats will continue. Let’s hope the former have more ‘wins’ than the latter.