Terror Expert Henry Nocella Shares Thoughts on London Attacks

Nocella examines the 'unsophisticated' attacks, role of CCTV and possible effect on political resolve


One of the signs is if the individual is acting nervous -- fidgeting a lot, and looking around a lot and generally not comfortable with what he is doing. We also look at situations such as if the weather is cool but a person is sweating. He could just be sick, but he also could be focused on a mission. These are the things that consistently come up. We also pay attention if someone is wearing a coat and their top makes them look like they have a 200-pound body, but there legs look like they're from a 100-pound body, then we are on alert that there might be something under that coat.

Part of the shake-out of the bomb attacks on London's transit system two weeks ago is that there have been a number of calls for implementing additional surveillance systems in U.S. transit facilities. As someone who's worked with a variety of security equipment, including cameras, access control, gates, etc., do you think surveillance systems can have a deterrent effect on these kind of attacks?

In the short term, I think the answer is "Maybe," and I say that because what you're seeing more and more frequently is that CCTV footage is of great help when piecing together how an attack was accomplished and who or what was involved. But with cameras, the more aware that the bad guys are that they can be recorded and traced, the harder it will be for them to plan these attacks. So, is it a short-term deterrent? No, probably not. But in the long term it is a great tool for investigation and may deter some attacks.

What's the fallout from today's attacks?

It is my sincere hope that the psychological effect of these attacks will not be what these groups are hoping for; that the citizens won't lose their political resolve to support the U.S. in fighting terrorism.