NATICK (CBS) – Truck drivers usually don’t think of their rigs as weapons. That was until the National Transportation Security Administration issued a report warning trucking companies of the threat.
A TSA security alert obtained by CBS News says that the nation’s trucking companies need to know that ISIS agents could try to steal their trucks and use them in a terrorist operation.
The report cited the attack in Nice, France that killed 86 people last July as a prime example. In that attack, the terrorist murdered the driver and then drove his truck into a crowd of hundreds of pedestrians.
The TSA report also said a total of 17 attacks have been carried out since 2014, killing 173 people and injuring over 650.
WBZ security analyst Ed Davis says ISIS has recently published a report that encourages attacks like the one in Nice.
Lyman Jones, a trucker visiting a Natick truck stop, said the big rigs are powerful machines.
“This rig, at eighty thousand pounds, at forty miles per hour, it’ll probably go two to three football fields through cars. It goes over a car like nothing. It could take down a building,” Jones said.
WBZ Security Analyst Ed Davis says these types of plots are hard to thwart and drivers should be vigilant and look for suspicious activity near their rigs.
Davis adds that it would be low cost, easy to plan, and would be very effective.
Clare Lopez, Vice President for Research and Analysis for the Center for Security Policy, a Washington-based national security research firm, says the TSA report is accurate because the threat is real.
“We have seen these kinds of attacks of repeatedly, in Nice, France and in Germany. There is no reason to think that similar attempts to do this would not happen in the US,” Lopez said.
“The Islamic State has their people everywhere and we are in a period of total confrontation with ISIS according to their timeline published in 2015,” Lopez said, referring to the ISIS document.
“Their members were called upon to wage an all-out confrontation. It’s not all out warfare yet, but it is an encouragement of individual jihadis who live in enclaves around the western world,” Lopez said.
Truck driver Demrick Soares says the reality of the situation and the notice from the TSA will make him more careful.
“I’ll definitely put more thought into where I stay, where I park at night, and make sure it’s in well-lit, well-traveled places,” Soares said.
Davis says potential targets for these types of truck ramming attacks include any place where a lot of people gather outside. He says crowded Fourth of July celebrations and crowded beaches are also likely targets.