By Patrick J. Brosnan

For the second time in ten months, terror, has struck Paris.  In its bloody aftermath, 129 were murdered and 90 critically injured. The multiple and simultaneous attacks were executed flawlessly and with military precision.  Logistically, from the known facts, it would appear that at least a dozen individuals would be needed to mount this complex operation.  That is twelve terrorists, minimum, required to pull off these attacks.  From both a tactical and pragmatic perspective, this level of operation would require significant communication between the actors to devise an operational strategy. First, they must conduct their advance work: the study and assessment of the targeted locations and their existing security. Second, the patterns and practices of the local police must be established; and viable escape routes developed.  Next, they must surreptitiously acquire weapons, vests and vehicles. Finally, they must develop a precise timetable, a solid backup plan and secure safe house locations. All this without a syllable being uttered on the chatter lines; without a digital fingerprint left behind. To boot, this ghostlike coalition did not develop such an incredibly precise and effective operational strategy overnight.  This took weeks, if not months! How, in God's name did they do it? Twelve terrorists, foaming with hate and invective, and not a syllable, not a whisper, captured by the wary and diligent intelligence officers bent on uncovering these terrorists, more so than ever since the attacks in January. It defies comprehension particularly since one of the terrorists was on their radar.

The clear lack of actionable intelligence developed by the French authorities is extremely troubling and will, I am certain, be the topic of endless scrutiny; however, the deafening silence in the intelligence monitoring rooms in France suggests a far more ominous reason for the silence- smarter and more careful terrorists.

Based on Saturday's attacks, their is a strong probability that these terrorists have been quietly studying law enforcement's well-documented practices for intelligence gathering. They may have learned the folly of their ways. The flow of social media chatter and other intelligence snippets that have helped law enforcement to identify and prevent numerous attacks in NYC and elsewhere may have been stopped by a new and more diabolically clever terrorist.  One who reads the papers and learns from his mistakes.  A terrorist with iron discipline who effectively checkmates law enforcement's efforts to identify them through an iron- fist policy: a policy that prohibits talking carelessly on electronic devices; or at locations that could be compromised; or with individuals who could be undercover agents.  No more reckless radicalizing through intermediaries, social networks and the Internet.  No more careless posting on message boards and private forums- anonymous rooms where aspiring terrorists can plan attacks and share info on weapons and targets.  Today, iron discipline may have replaced loose lips.

Patrick J Brosnan is a retired NYPD Robbery/ Gun Squad Detective and the CEO of Brosnan Risk Consultants- an investigative, protective and intelligence firm headquartered in Midtown Manhattan

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