No such thing as terrorist-proof: ex-FBI agent


Posted at Apr 17 2013 12:04 PM | Updated as of Apr 17 2013 08:46 PM

MANILA - Amid the ongoing probe into the Boston Marathon bombings, an expert believes there is still no way to tell if the explosive device that was used is linked to organized terror groups or to amateurs.

On ANC's Headstart, retired US Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and consultant Stephen Cutler says pressure cookers are commonly used as improvised explosive devices in Pakistan and Iraq and information on making them is easily accessible on the Internet.

Federal law enforcement members have said the explosive devices found at the Boston Marathon were made from pressure cookers hidden in backpacks.

Cutler, a special agent with the FBI from 1986 to 2008, served as head of the FBI in the Philippines for 5 years.

He says the attacks in Boston are considered an act of terror but adds it could also be linked to past or present radical events.

“Anytime you have a lot of people there's the risk of a terrorist event. We think it’s a terrorist event because there's no indication there's a criminal extortion,” he told ANC.

“From the terrorist perspective, it happened on the day taxes were filed. It could have been a protest vs taxes. It could be a protest vs Waco, potentially, could it be a large public gathering leading up to the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2nd," he added.

Cutler says attacks at athletic events are not unusual, citing the 1972 Munich massacre that left 21 dead and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics that claimed 2 lives.

He admits despite lessons from America’s experience in dealing with terrorists, it would have been impossible for law enforcers to prevent any untoward incident along the stretch of the 26-point 2-mile marathon route.

He, however, believes the blasts at the marathon grounds, the JFK Library and the poisoned letter in Washington are separate events.

“My gut feeling here is there is probably no connection but we don’t know that by now. I think we've reduced the risks to the extent possible but there is nothing in an open society, which the United States and the Philippines and the Philippines has. There is no such thing as terrorist-proof. Some people are saying this is an intelligence failure but I'm not prepared to say that at this point because there's no way to tell there was intelligence available to government that would indicate that,” he said.

Today, Cutler says with no motive or perpetrator established in the blasts, the FBI, which is leading investigations in Boston, faces the monumental task of reviewing all documents and examining communications to get to the bottom of the bombings.