A former FBI counter terrorism expert claims the bloody Nov. 13 Paris attack wasn’t a full-fledged assault, but a cold-blooded ISIS “test” to assess its ability to launch small, randomized attacks in a major Western city.
That expert, Eric O’Neill, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that ISIS was testing the model he called, “small randomized attacks” when it went on a shooting and bombing spree throughout Paris, killing 129 people and wounding another 352.
“I think this was a test to see how well this could work in a city. Can we coordinate it? Can we effectively carry it out,” O’Neill told TheDCNF. “My sense is they are benchmarking themselves. They are going to see if this could be deployed somewhere else because if this was a test, then they passed.”
The same test “could have happened in a Washington, D.C. or New York, or Los Angeles and San Francisco, yeah, easily,” he said.
In February 2001, O’Neill helped capture the most notorious spy in United States history, Robert Phillip Hanssen. In the three months preceding Hanssen’s arrest, O’Neill worked with the spy within the newly minted information assurance division, created to protect all classified FBI intelligence. O’Neill was charged with gaining Hanssen’s trust and then using that relationship to slowly draw the traitor out of deep cover.
O’Neill believes the U.S. is next on the terrorist group’s target list. He said it is now more likely in the post-attack assessment stage.
ISIS leaders are probably saying, “let’s go back to the white board. Let’s figure out what we did wrong and what we did right? How could we do better,” he said.
Another counter terrorism analyst who requested anonymity agreed, telling TheDCNF that ISIS has abandoned the al-Qaida model, which targeted “symbolic” targets such as the World Trade Center and the Pentagon which were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
The ISIS model is to target smaller, “softer” venues that are hard to protect like bars, restaurants, concert halls and public events.
O’Neill said the tactic generates fear because when random attacks occur, no place is safe. “Small randomized attacks cause a much greater sense of terror than one large attack.”
Read more: dailycaller.com