BOSTON (WHDH) - “The Boston Marathon attack was the first wake-up call to the United States about the new face of terror,” says John Carlin.
As head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, John Carlin oversaw the prosecution of Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He cites that attack as the “new” less sophisticated terror threat; smaller in scale than what happened 15 years ago in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, more complex and still devastating.
And with a new digital component, groups like ISIS are sending the call to jihad out electronically on the Internet.
“The threat we face now,” says Carlin, “is what we call crowd-sourcing terrorism and it involves individuals who are inside the United States, but inspired by terrorism causes overseas.”
At 43 years old, he is the youngest and longest-serving head of the National Security Division.
Carlin spoke at a security forum at MIT. Carlin granted 7News a rare TV interview to discuss some of the most eminent terror threats we face today, including cyber terror.
7’s Adam Williams asks, “There have been hacks at the RNC, the DNC and I think some people out there are saying, ‘Could these cyber-terrorists, these hackers, influence our presidential election?”
John Carlin responds, “We take very seriously the idea that a foreign power might try to influence, even if they can’t, even they just wanted to try to influence the election, we take that very seriously and it would demand a response.”
Adams continues, “Is it fair to say that the fight against terrorism is the new normal?”
Carlin answers, “I hate that phrase, the new normal. To me, it’s never gonna be normal, it’s never gonna be acceptable to our family members or our friends to be killed by one of these horrendous groups.”
Whatever the threat, wherever the danger, Carlin feels a sense of reassurance. Confidence, thanks in large part to what he saw in Boston following the attacks here.
“Boston set an example for the country on how a community can get back on its feet. And those terrorists may have tried to disrupt the marathon, as it moves all of our hearts to see the way the community, the community responded,” says Carlin. “So we need to be vigiliant, but we can and we will defeat this threat.”
Carlin announced his retirement from the justice department this fall but he’ll still be working in the private sector, still offering his knowledge and instinct into fighting the ongoing war on terror.
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