Tuesday
October 31, 2017


 

 

 

Faso holds FBI forum on terrorism preparedness


FBI Special Agent Vadim Thomas (podium) spoke of differences
between domestic and international terrorism

ESOPUS – Congressman John Faso (R, 19) held a public safety program Monday in Esopus, designed to help protect soft targets, including houses of worship, from terrorism.

Vadim Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albany Division, discussed the sensitive issue, joined by members of his FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, local law enforcement, and leaders of local faith communities.

“People are concerned about threats to houses of worship, because of incidents we’ve seen around the country,” Faso said. “The session on Monday was a good opportunity to bring the FBI together with members of the community, to better understand what they should be doing and considering. Every church should be looking at having specific discussions about security arrangements in their facility, with the State Police, or FBI, or local law enforcement.”  

The goal is to establish and enhance the dialogue between communities of faith and law enforcement, so that they are not just speaking to each other when there is an emergency, that they know each other ahead of time, the lawmaker said. “Better to create these lines of communication now, when you have a period of normalcy, as opposed to trying to establish them when there’s a period of crisis,” Faso said.

Thomas spoke for nearly an hour, detailing in general terms the differences between international and domestic homegrown terrorists.

Key points made include the availability of active shooter training, which can be provided free of charge to faith organizations by law enforcement agencies.

Suspicious activity or behavior should be immediately reported, he said. Thomas maintained that it is better to be safe than sorry, noting that his field office is constantly interviewing potential witnesses and suspect in their ongoing effort to intercept terrorist threats. He cited the 2012 death ray case in Albany, involving a KKK plot to kill Muslims with an X-ray device.

 


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