NYPD Stepping Up Social-Media Monitoring to Keep an Eye on ‘Lone Wolf’ Terrorists

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The ax attack on four police officers by a small-time, supposedly “self-radicalized terrorist” in Queens last month has led the NYPD to “significantly broaden” its internet tracking of potential criminals and “lone wolf terrorists,” Bloomberg News reports. “They’re trying to access sites that they’re going to find stimulating and try to make up for whatever deficits they have in their lives in terms of trying to find meaning or a cause,” said Commissioner Bill Bratton. The “slick, well-packaged,” extremist messages of, say, ISIS, are especially worrying, according to John Miller, the department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism.

If the conspiracy to commit a terrorist act is a conspiracy of one and the planning for that is unsophisticated, doesn’t require a lot a lot of preoperational surveillance and is only happening in the mind of the offender, from an intelligence standpoint, from a prevention standpoint, that’s very hard to detect,” Miller said. The answer, they say, is more surveillance. Because that went so well last time.