Ex-FBI Agent Gives Tips for Spotting a Terrorist

With Americans growing more concerned about the threat of terrorism, retired FBI agent John Iannarelli offers his take on what people should watch for and how they can better protect themselves.

“There is a number of things the public can look for. So much information has been put out there: ‘If you see something, say something.’ But nobody’s really telling us what to look for,” Iannarelli told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.

Iannarelli used the recent knife attack at a railway station near Munich, Germany as an example.

“What I’ve tried to do based on my law enforcement career is look at some of the things that law enforcement just accepts in general; things that law enforcement sees, but passing that information onto the general public. For example, like today, was this individual at the German train station just wandering around the area aimlessly before the attack occurred? Things that would seem out of place that might draw your attention and you’d want to notify law enforcement about,” said Iannarelli.

NYSE CEO Dick Grasso asked Iannarelli what the public should do if confronted with a situation like the attack in Germany.

Although Iannarelli says that preventing incidents is optimal and every person and situation is different, “I always recommend, if you have the option to flee, that should be your first choice. If you can’t flee, then perhaps you are going to hide if the situation presents itself, such as if a terrorist wanders into a building. And then finally, of course if you have no choice, you can’t depend upon the mercy of a terrorist, you are going to have to fight back. But you are not going to fight back to try and win the fight. You would fight back long enough so that you could then flee,” Iannarelli said.

On Americans’ doubts or concerns about speaking up about a potential threat, Iannarelli said, “We had an interesting situation the other day where a woman was on an airplane, noticed something she thought was unusual and that she reported to the airplane personnel about taking action. It turned out to be a fairly benign situation, but the reality is, the worst case scenario in that situation, there was a minor delay for the flight,” said Iannarelli.

But FNC contributor Meghan McCain raised concerns of a potential backlash over Americans alerting authorities, such as the allegations of Islamophobia when a Texas high school student was arrested for taking apart and rebuilding a clock.

“What’s interesting with ‘clock boy’ and other situations like that, I never once heard any words regarding race, ethnicity, what country they were originally from. I heard about the facts of the situation. In my book I use the word profile, but I never once refer to it in any sense other than profiling physical activities a person is engaged in and that’s what we’re focusing on,” Iannarelli said.