Austin counterintelligence expert: Attack in Manchester is the new norm

Stratfor discusses Manchester attack (KXAN photo)
Stratfor discusses Manchester attack (KXAN photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN/AP) — The United States’ top intelligence official says the U.S. government has not yet verified that the Islamic State group is responsible for the attack in Manchester, England, but called the deadly incident a reminder of how serious the terror threat remains.

“This threat is real, it’s not going away, and it needs significant attention,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said during testimony Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Coats said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Fred Burton with Stratfor joined KXAN News Today anchor John Dabkovich to discuss potential ISIS ties to the attack.

When asked if ISIS would just claim responsibility without actually having been involved, Burton said it’s very likely.

“Absolutely, they certainly could,” Burton said. “The devil is in the details as MI-5 starts to look at the bomber and the suspect they have arrested to try to determine if, in fact, this could be Islamic State related.”

Burton said that an attack like the one in Manchester, as much as people don’t want to accept it, is the new norm. “You can look at the tempo of attacks that we’ve seen throughout Europe and look at the potential for soft targets,” he said. “The variable there makes it almost impossible to stop these types of attacks from occurring without very good human intelligence.”

Dozens were injured and 22 were killed in the blast.

For the rest of Burton’s take on the attack, watch the above video.

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