Alert Public and Cops Foiled the Most Terrorism Schemes


(The Charlotte Observer)

by John S. Hollywood and Kevin J. Strom

November 24, 2010

Increased pat-downs at airports are one national response to terrorism threats. The recent foiled plot by a naturalized citizen to bomb Washington-area metro stations has national counterterrorism officials warning that the U.S. faces not only risks from abroad, but also the very real risk of homegrown terrorism, including small-scale and lone-wolf attacks.

So it's worth knowing what tactics would help discover and foil subsequent plots.

Typically, to prevent a terrorist attack and make adjustments, counterterrorism experts look at what went wrong. Policymakers would do well to supplement this approach with lessons learned from what has gone right: tips from the public that prevented mayhem ...

John S. Hollywood is a researcher at the nonprofit RAND Corp. Kevin J. Strom of Raleigh is a senior research scientist at the nonprofit RTI International. The research described was supported by the Institute for Homeland Security Solutions.

The remainder of this op-ed can be found at

This commentary originally appeared in The Charlotte Observer on November 24, 2010. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.