Railroad and mass transit authorities are being warned by an agency belonging to the Department of Homeland Security to be on the lookout for homegrown terrorist threats involving attempts to derail trains.
In recent days the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) sent out a security notice to all law enforcement around the country, according to ABC News, after the terrorist organization al Qaeda published “how-to” instructions on train derailment.
The group’s English-language magazine provided step-by-step guidance for making a “homemade derailment tool” after claiming that U.S. rail service is among the country’s “easiest targets.”
“It is time we instill fear and make them impose strict security measures to trains as they did with their air transportation,” said the publication (indeed, the TSA and DHS were formed after the 9/11 attacks, with both agencies growing in size and cost each year).
John Cohen, a former counterterrorism coordinator for DHS and a contributor to ABC News said, “Al Qaeda and ISIS are very interested and are urging their followers to conduct attacks against our nation’s rail infrastructure.”
“Securing the rail infrastructure is an incredible challenge,” he added. “There are literally thousands of miles of tracks. There are rail stations that are open to the public. It’s a very difficult job.”
Some law enforcement agencies have already responded to the warning. The chief of police for the Philadelphia region’s mass-transit authority, Thomas Nestel, said he has been aware for quite awhile that the country’s roughly 140,000 miles of rail lines crisscrossing the country are “porous” and as such, he had been considering using drones to monitor tracks within his jurisdiction. (Related: 4 things you’ll absolutely need when SHTF.)
As such, following the al Qaeda magazine’s publication of the rail line article, Nestel, who heads up the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority, initiated a drone program. In an interview with ABC News, he said that the use of drones is “a great way for us to patrol a track without walking on the track, putting officers in jeopardy, safety-wise.”
Not only that, using drones “can cover a whole lot of area in a much faster span of time,” he said.
“This was bouncing around in my head for a little while and then when that … article came out, I pulled the trigger, I said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Nestel added.
ABC News reported further:
The transit-agency’s drone, which is equipped with a high-resolution camera, can help officers detect intruders or anomalies on the tracks and provide information that could lead authorities to stop trains before they reach a problem area.
What makes the al Qaeda threat even more believable is that the group has targeted rail lines and rail traffic before. Hundreds of commuters have been killed in attacks from Madrid, Spain, to Brussels, Belgium, and throughout Europe in the past decade.
But such attacks have also struck a chord with U.S. authorities after U.S. Navy SEAL teams found during the operation that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden plans he devised to attack U.S. rail systems on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 (no attacks on U.S. rail systems took place, however).
Also, in 2009 the FBI arrested a 25-year-old Afghani national who was living in Colorado for his role in an alleged plot to plant bombs in the Manhattan subway system.
Additionally, in 2012 an undercover American intelligence agent disrupted a plot to derail a New York-bound passenger train traveling in Canada.
Cohen noted that “for the TSA to send out a warning to law enforcement says that, ‘We are concerned about this threat; we need you to be concerned about this threat as well.’”
As for preppers, if you live near train tracks this is yet another scenario you should plan for. Trains carry everything from cars and cargo to oil, gasoline and toxic (as in deadly) chemicals.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.
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