Blast From The Past
The Boston Marathon bombing was just one week ago, but the Marathon had been looked upon as a possible target for a terrorist attack in the past.
Retired General Russell Howard taught a terrorism class at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. In 2008, that class was split into groups and asked to plan an attack on the marathon.
Here is an excerpt from our friends at Rare
The April 15 Boston Marathon terror attack stunned and saddened the nation. But it may not have been too surprising to one group of former U.S. college students. After all, they had planned just such an attack. In 2008, a group of undergraduates taking a course on terrorism at Tufts University, in the Boston suburb of Medford, planned an attack on the Boston Marathon as part of a class exercise. Their hypothetical plan was eerily similar to the attack which actually took place. The course instructor, Brigadier General Russell D. Howard, routinely divides his classes into groups of five or six and asks them to “red team” attacks as though they were actual terrorist cells. “If 20-24 year old students can do it,” he told Rare, “then terrorists can do it.” The Boston Marathon operation Gen. Howard’s students planned was almost identical to the actual attack. “It was backpacks, quick-in/quick-out, and right at the same location,” he said. The main differences were that they used pipe bombs instead of pressure cookers, and their assumed ideology was right-wing rather than jihadist. The reason they chose the Boston Marathon was that it was a soft target, virtually impossible to defend, and highly symbolic. Plus being an internationally known sporting event it would be guaranteed to have massive press coverage. Such exercises have practical counter-terrorism applications. “A good counter-terrorist needs to be able to think and act like a terrorist,” Gen. Howard said.
General Howard was nice enough to join me on the program today, and talked about his experience teaching the course, and what he thinks needs to be done to improve security...