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Experts on Terror

UAlbany faculty spoke with local, regional and national media following Tuesday’s attack in Manhattan.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 3, 2017) – Eight people were killed and almost a dozen were injured on Tuesday when a 29-year-old man rented a pickup truck and drove it down a bicycle path near the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. It was the deadliest terror attack in New York since 9/11.

Sadly, this added to a string of recent ISIS-related terror attacks that have killed thousands of innocent people around the globe. With each attack, the need for experts to analyze motives and offer strategies to mitigate future risk continues to grow.

Following Tuesday’s attack – local, regional and national media outlets turned to UAlbany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity and Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy for insight.

Robert Griffin, Dean of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity:

Griffin, who serves as CEHC’s founding dean, spoke on Wednesday night with The Jim Bohannon Show live on “Westwood One Radio.” The show has more than 350 radio affiliates nationwide.

On the show, Griffin offered his biggest takeaway from Tuesday’s attack: “I think we need to take a real hard look at the radicalization that occurred in this situation. We can then begin to create community strategies to try and avoid other people from also becoming radicalized,” he said. “What’s unique here is that we have a survivor who experts can go back and interview. There’s a wealth of information that we can learn about the radicalization process from this individual.”

Griffin also spoke with Donavan Slack of USA Today about counter-terrorism efforts and how effective they are at preventing similar terror attacks by homegrown threats.

Victor Asal, associate professor, Rockefeller College:

A political scientist and expert on political violence, Asal was interviewed by The Hill in Washington D.C., USA Today and, which combined reach more than five million online readers per day.

Asal told USA Today that the internet is increasingly radicalizing “lone wolf” terrorists like the one we saw on Tuesday, and is encouraging them to take action: “We are seeing more and more of the inspired lone wolf, who maybe has been directed ... who has bought into someone’s ideology,” he said.

Asal also mentioned to that terrorists are increasingly turning to vehicular attacks.
There’s been a “tremendous upswing” in such attacks over the past few years, Asal said, and they’ve given rise to the “inspired lone wolf” — people not affiliated with any organization, but motivated by their ideology.

Rick Mathews, public service professor, Rockefeller College:

Former director of SUNY’s National Center for Security & Preparedness, Rick Mathews spoke locally on-air with CBS 6 WRGB – Albany late Tuesday night. Mathews is often called to speak with Albany’s local CBS affiliate following terror attacks.

He was also live on the Jim Bohannon Show Tuesday night and featured as an expert nationally on NBC News.

"The things we see now are that when terrorists attack by getting a vehicle or renting a truck, which is not illegal, there is a great deal of difficulty detecting. It makes it harder to stop them," Mathews told NBC News.

In addition, Brian Nussbaum, assistant professor of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, was interviewed by on the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts in New York City.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.