Following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and the evacuation of thousands of Afghanis to the western world, law enforcement experts are urging for greater preparation and vetting of refugees to prevent future terror attacks abroad and at home.
Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, who responded to the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, urged for “far-ranging” security measures to be put in place, from intelligence gathering and monitoring airports, to conducting extensive background checks of refugees to make sure those entering the country have good intentions.
Davis told Fox News that although “the great majority” of refugees have been helpful to the U.S. and are looking to start a new life, he cautioned against being too passive.
“You don’t want to say anything negative about the people who … have actually risked their lives to fight terrorism in a very real way,” Davis said. “But the truth is that when large numbers of people are brought into the country like this, the vetting process has to be very intense. And I know from doing investigations around the world that trying to do a background investigation on someone who has come from a country like Afghanistan is virtually, is very difficult to do.”
Davis, currently the CEO of a private security firm, said that because Afghanistan is “primitive” and lacking in databases that record criminal history or suspicious activity, problematic individuals could slip through the cracks.
“The federal government has an enormous amount of intelligence that they’ve gathered by being in the country for 20 years. But it’s not perfect. And you worry about people slipping through that may have ill intent.”
Ray Kelly, a former New York police and U.S. customs commissioner, also weighed in.
“Look, they had to get out of the country in a hurry,” Kelly said of the evacuees. “But now that they’re in the U.S., or somewhere in the U.S., I think we have to slow the process way down, and do as thorough background checks as possible.”
The former top cop served as New York police commissioner following the September 11 terror attacks, and was praised by Pace University as boosting NYPD’s counterterrorism capacity.
Kelly said the U.S. has to be “cognizant” of potential terror attacks and conduct thorough background checks.
“This is a difficult process, but I still think we have to go through it, because there is definitely a potential threat there,” he said. “One person who wants to do us harm and cause an awful lot of damage.”
Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Seattle and Los Angeles police departments told Fox News that they are engaged with federal partners to monitor potential threats heightened after the toppling of the Afghan government by the Jihadist group.
Kenn Honig, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for 28 years and first responder during the1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 9/11 attacks, as well as the former commanding officer for New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports, said to expect increased security measures in cities.
He said he expects increased “visible patrol monitoring,” in terms of both visible and invisible security, a greater police patrol presence, and closer monitoring of internet activity on chat rooms and the dark web.