Profiling Must Be Used to Combat Terrorism

Jim McNeff
Profiling must be used to combat terrorism. Failing to do so will set us up for more destruction.

Earlier today an attempted suicide bomber who set off a rush-hour explosion at the nation’s busiest bus terminal was incompetent. Police said the man strapped a pipe bomb to his body with Velcro and zip ties, and it detonated in a subway corridor.

The homicidal bomber was identified as Akayed Ulah, 27, reported Fox News. He is a Bangladeshi national living in Brooklyn. Moreover, ISIS inspired him, law enforcement officials said.

I referred to Ulah as incompetent in that his IED appears to have detonated prematurely, thankfully for New Yorkers who were intended targets. There were four people injured in addition to the bomber, and that fact should not be minimized. Yet the damage could have been much worse.

The suspect reportedly packed a 5-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack into the right side of his jacket, according to The New York Post. Ullah told police he made the bomb at his work, law enforcement sources told Fox News.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the explosion was an “attempted terrorist attack.”

Come again Mayor?

This was not an “attempt.” It WAS a terrorist attack. Just because he didn’t achieve his intended goal with mass casualties does not make it any less of a terror attack.

Ullah lived in Brooklyn, but he emigrated from Bangladesh nearly seven years ago, federal law enforcement sources confirmed to Fox News. A person briefed on the probe said Ullah came to the U.S. on an F-4 visa, a preferential visa available for those with family in the U.S. who are citizens.

While facts of this investigation will not be revealed for some time, the terror-suspect-sympathizers have already begun spinning things.

Quite frankly, I view these people as openly hostile to American safety.

Why is it that every time we have a terror attack, we have the usual list of talking heads—CAIR, ACLU, etc. and their sympathizers—rush to the microphone trying to discourage our government from profiling terror suspects.


As long as the Bill of Rights remain in place we absolutely need to profile to protect the innocent.

Simply speaking, profiling focuses on data that is consistent with past terror attacks. Furthermore, it connects dots that might suggest future behavior. But as long as the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th Amendments are in place (and I probably overlooked some that are relevant), it is better to offend a few that bury the masses.

And even if a few are offended, they are unlikely to be successfully incarcerated with the U.S. Constitution in place.

Every worthwhile proactive investigative unit will profile. To ignore information that some might label profiling is simply being incompetent, just like the bomber who apparently experienced a premature detonation today.

I worked as a narcotics detective just prior to the technology explosion (no pun intended). As such, profiling drug dealers was a piece of cake. Find anyone loitering around, and using a pay phone multiple times between 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., and constantly looking at a pager (remember those?), and you were about 95 percent certain you’d bag a drug dealer. Moreover, if the dummy arrived in a vehicle, and you were able to identity prior narcotic arrests, your chances of witnessing a narcotic transaction just became 99 percent certain.

And guess what? Not once did we make a narcotic arrest based upon our profiling methods where drugs were not present. Furthermore, had we been that reckless, the case would never be prosecuted and we’d be vulnerable to civil remedies.

Why would we ignore the trends? I.e. profiling. It pays attention to circumstances and behavior that consistently lead to the same outcomes.

Past behavior is a great predictor of future circumstances. While investigators need to wait for elements of the crime to develop before making arrests, I certainly hope for the sake of our nation that we are paying attention.

Political correctness will get people killed if profiling factors are ignored. And those who die will be from every form of humanity, because mass-casualty-deaths don’t profile either.

– Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today

Jim McNef
Jim McNeff worked in military and civilian law enforcement for 31 years. He retired as a police lieutenant with the Fountain Valley Police Department in Orange County, California. He currently serves as the editor-in-chief with Law Enforcement Today. Jim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Southwest University and graduated from the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute as well as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) course, Leadership in Police Organizations. He authored “The Spirit behind Badge 145” and “Justice Revealed.” He is married and has three adult children and three grandchildren. You can contact him at jrmcneff@gmail.com or view his website www.badge145.com.