Terrorism Experts Weigh In On NYC Bombing

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Port Authority Police. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images)

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Investigators already have a good deal of information about the suspect in the attempted bombing of a subway station entrance in New York City Monday.

Police already know suspect Akayed Ullah's identity, and have both video footage tracing his path and bomb material.

Neil Livingstone, an author of several books on terrorism, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Kendall Buhl the device itself is giving investigators a lot to go on.

"Where the technology came from, where he purchased the black powder, presumably, things like that," he said. "They're going to build a very careful picture of this guy and the devices, and see if they are linked to bombings that we've seen before."

He said the attack doesn't seem to be a particularly sophisticated attack--but that even a crude attack has been enough to paralyze one of the busiest areas in one of the busiest cities in the world.

But there's still much to learn. Terry Downes, director of the Homeland Security program at Middlesex Community College, says the target, timing, and unsophisticated nature of the attack all bear the hallmarks of ISIS.

 "ISIS has been calling for its followers and its adherents to act on their own, not to wait for permission or authorization or training from their headquarters, and launch attacks at sensitive areas, particulary in big cities, particularly in London and New York, and especially in a place like a subway where there's so many potential victims," he said.

Downes points out that the necessarily easy-access nature of public transportation makes it a good target for terrorists--and that that's why it's so important for the riding public to say something if they see something.

Massachusetts State Rep. Howard Naughton of Worcester said transit authorities do good work balancing easy access and security.

"There's the extensive 'If you see something, say something program," he said. "There are very clear, concise visible transit police phone numbers and warning signs. There's actually an app for your iPhone or Android that allows anyone to make anonymous reports 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they'll get a response time in a few minutes."

Naughton said he hopes the message gets to even more people who aren't as familiar with public transportation, as there's a sharp rise in trips by occasional users this time of year.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Kendall Buhl reports

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