The bombings in New York City and New Jersey over the weekend were clearly violent and intentional acts, but were they terrorist attacks?
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill refused to call the Saturday night explosion in Manhattan an act of terrorism, saying investigators did not yet know the motivation behind the attack as of Sunday.
Former Department of Homeland Security officer Philip Haney told WND the bombings “absolutely” look like a terrorist attack to him, as they were very similar to virtually all other terrorist acts in America since 9/11.
“If you don’t call it an act of terror, then what exactly is it?” Haney demanded. “Isn’t the bombing a terrorist act?”
Haney, a whistleblower who authored “See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad,” said it’s not necessary to know the suspect’s exact motive; a bombing in a crowded urban area constitutes an act of terror.
“Why do we have to wring our hands in agony about how to define a bombing, whether it’s a terrorist attack or not?” he asked. “It’s obvious that it’s a terrorist attack. The only question is who did it and what is his ideology? Who did it and what do they believe and who are they affiliated with? Those are the questions that we should be asking.”
On Sunday, when pressed on whether he was comfortable labeling the bombing in his city an act of terrorism, de Blasio called it “intentional,” “violent” and “criminal,” but stopped short of calling it a terrorist act.
Haney believes the mayor is trying to walk a fine line between acknowledging the obvious and mollifying allies such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American Civil Liberties Union, who insist there is no relationship between Islam and terrorism.
In fact, Haney pointed out the NYPD settled a lawsuit from CAIR and the ACLU earlier this year in which it agreed to essentially hamper its surveillance practices regarding Muslims.
“So if de Blasio would just come right out and acknowledge it was terrorism, then he’s contradicting his political stance vis-à-vis his support of groups like CAIR and the ACLU and other Islamic groups that are working very hard to separate or disassociate Islamic groups with terrorism,” Haney said.
De Blasio emphasized on multiple occasions that he couldn’t call the bombing a terrorist act because he didn’t know if the perpetrator was connected to any terror organization.
Haney said that’s the wrong way to think about terrorism.
“Just because an individual may not be known to be affiliated with, let’s say, Hamas or Hezbollah, does that mean that automatically it’s not a terrorist attack?” he asked. “No, because there are networks operating right here in the United States that are part of a global Islamic movement that may only be informally affiliated with groups we think of, like Hamas or ISIS or Hezbollah. But that doesn’t make them any less lethal.”
Unlike de Blasio, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was willing to utter the T-word when discussing the Saturday night explosion in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.
“A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism,” Cuomo said during a Sunday news conference. “A bomb going off is generically a terrorist activity. That’s how we’ll consider it. And that’s how we will prosecute it.”
Haney commended the governor for stating the evident truth.
“It’s becoming obvious to everyone in the country that there’s a trend developing here, and that as much as some may try to alter the narrative to deemphasize the fact that it’s a terrorist attack, nonetheless it’s becoming obvious to more and more people in America that these are exactly what we think of when we talk about terrorist attacks,” Haney said.
“There’s obvious forethought, planning, gathering of materials, placement of the bombs, people involved – you know, all the behavioral indicators and actions that are taken by people who do terrorist attacks everywhere in the world, including now, of course, right here in New York City and across the United States.”
The man suspected of carrying out the bombings in both New York and New Jersey, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was taken into custody Monday morning after a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey. Haney applauded the police for their quick work in nabbing their suspect, but not without regrets.
“It shows that law enforcement is very capable of doing their job,” he acknowledged. “It’s just unfortunate that we have to wait until something happens before we respond to it.”