FBI needs to work with businesses to prevent attacks, expert says

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation counterterrorism official Brenda Heck, the FBI needs to work closely with private industry in sharing information to prevent future terrorist attacks like the 2008 attack in Mumbai.

Heck, the deputy assistant director in the FBI’s counterterrorism division, said that the FBI must share warning signs such as “threat indicators” and “tripwires” with companies to prevent attacks, according to Bloomberg.

Heck, while speaking at Tuesday’s Government Security Conference & Expo in Washington D.C., gave the example of the February arrest of a 20-year-old Saudi student in Texas on charges of terrorism, which was the result of a chemical supplier alerting authorities to the suspect’s attempt to buy concentrated phenol. Phenol can be used in creating explosives.

“Tripwires worked,” Heck said, according to Bloomberg. “Because of the relationships that already existed in those field offices in those territories, phone calls were made.”

The FBI has historically shared little with private industry, only reaching out to companies when it needed information. Heck said those times must change.

“They are going to be the targets,” Heck said of the companies, according to Bloomberg. “This is a world where soft targets are the name of the game.”