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Lessons of 9/11 ignored in aftermath of Marathon

US counterterrorism officials appear to be ignoring the lessons we have learned from 9/11. Some of the comments in the article “US officials seek lessons in Marathon catastrophe” (Page A1, May 5) contradict sound law-enforcement practices.

John Cohen, a deputy counterterrorism coordinator at the Department of Homeland Security, cites community policing as a problem that surfaced in the Boston Marathon bombing. This assessment ignores the obvious breakdown in communication that culminated in the Marathon bombing.

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Following the 2001 attacks, Massachusetts, like many states, was given a Fusion Center and a Joint Terrorism Task Force, one of whose critical functions was to facilitate the sharing of information among various law-enforcement agencies. The state Fusion Center has stated that it was not given any information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. How is an emphasis on community policing going to make us safer if the information flow is choked off at the federal level?

Meanwhile, Ayanna Pressley, councilor-at-large on the Boston City Council, incorrectly assumes that asking relevant questions and compiling necessary information are synonymous with an accusation. Her comments reflect the politicization of the information-gathering process.

Our best defense against a self-radicalized, homegrown terrorist is for law enforcement to have an aggressive information-gathering process so that analysts can use this information to produce accurate and timely intelligence.

Robert L. Cerra


The writer is a retired Massachusetts state trooper.

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