Calling it a kind of community policing, the FBI leader in Chicago said new relationships between his agents and local police could provide the best chance of staving off a terror attack, reports the Chicago Tribune. The most likely terror plot would be carried out by a local radical who is not part of a massive global network, said Robert Grant, agent in charge of the FBI Chicago office. The first to notice the beginnings of such a plan could be a patrol officer who makes a traffic stop or sees something odd during a domestic disturbance.
Though many Chicago-based agents have shifted to an anti-terror focus since the 9/11 attacks, the bureau still has a series of high-profile public corruption probes to deal with, as well as a record number of bank robberies and highly organized street gangs. The FBI is most concerned about local plots that might be similar to a case in December, when a 22-year-old Muslim convert was prevented from allegedly carrying out a grenade attack at a mall. It’s likely that police officers might be the ones to first notice clues that such a plan could be unfolding in their town, said Jim Zimmerman, a Niles, Il., police sergeant and a member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Chicago street gangs are large and can have tentacles in a number of states or overseas. The FBI treats them like organized crime, said an agent. “The combination of us with local officers creates a greater whole,” he said. “It creates a whole new platform for us to work from. It’s the most effective way to do what we do.”