By Jason B. CutshawApril 16, 2010
FORT DRUM, N.Y. - Terrorists don't always attack from faraway lands; sometimes they strike from within.
Members of the FBI presented a military radicalization briefing April 9 at the Multipurpose Auditorium to help inform the Fort Drum community about domestic terrorism and possible causes for those serving in the military to become radicalized.
"They came to Fort Drum because we requested that they provide us with a brief on military radicalization and the micro-indicators that come along with that," said John Simard, Fort Drum anti-terrorism officer. "Most of us are not in tune to how the threat radicalizes military members and converts them from their current state to a radical extremist-type individual.
"So what they showed us here today is the process - the different phases and the indicators that are attached to each one of those phases as the individual progress from a normal, everyday person ... to a radicalized individual," he added.
When some people think of terrorists, they think of planes crashing into buildings or people in masks taking people hostage. During the briefing, the FBI special agent explained there are many types of terrorism, such as political, social, ideological, as well as religious extremist terrorism.
"There are many types of radicalized individuals and beliefs," Simard said. "There are all kinds of supremacy groups. There are right-wing and left-wing; you name it. And they are not just tied to Islamic fundamentalist groups."
Simard noted that many tips have thwarted possible terrorist attempts at Fort Drum, and every person can make a difference in protecting the installation.
"Fort Drum has a very pro-active force protection program, and we have presented ourselves as a very hardened target, which has prevented or at least stopped terrorists from considering Fort Drum as a potential target," Simard said.
"Vigilance is key. We've got to understand what these people are looking for - the indicators that would make us think that a person is someone who may be a bad person and maybe they should tell someone," he added.
Simard mentioned Fort Drum's new hotline for people to call if they notice any activity that may raise suspicion. Callers may remain anonymous if they choose.
"Fort Drum has a new anonymous reporting system, which is 774-TIPS (8477), and if someone thinks there is something criminal going on or a potential terrorist activity, we want people to call," Simard said. "You don't have to leave a name or number. All they have to do is leave a who, what, when, where and why type message on the 774-TIPS answering machine and someone will look into it.
"The goal of the briefing was to help remind and inform the Fort Drum community that everyone needs to be vigilant at all times," he added. "The smallest tips can be the biggest lifesavers."