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Many of the terrorists who carried out attacks on Western targets over the last decade were on government watch-lists prior to those attacks. For example, Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was interviewed by the FBI in 2011, two years before carrying out the terrorist plot.
It made us wonder. What does tracking terrorists entail? And how is it that someone on a government watch list wasn’t stopped from carrying out such violent plot. Who watches the watch list?
On this week’s Shortwave podcast, we talk to Bob Blitzer and Dale Watson, two former FBI agents who were at the very top of that organization’s counter-terror initiatives. They explain why it’s so hard to track every possible terrorist. The short answer, according to Blitzer: “There’s a lot of them, and a there’s few of us…That’s reality.”