STONINGTON -- Why should Connecticut be concerned about what played out in Paris on Friday evening? There are three good reasons, according to a former Connecticut congressman who worked for many years with the CIA.
“Here in Connecticut, we have the naval base, we have nuclear power plant and the Coast Guard Academy,” said Rob Simmons, who was sworn in as Stonington’s first selectman Monday afternoon.
Simmons, a longtime Army Reserve military intelligence officer, has great regard for French intelligence agencies, but says they are handicapped because of a lack of border security.
“I thought it was quite ironic that the French president decided to close his borders considering the borders have been open for far too long, with no vetting of who's coming and going,” said Simmons, a Republican whose congressional service from 2001-2007 included membership on the Homeland Security and Armed Services committees.
He adds that another invitation to terrorists in France comes in the form of some 800 no-go zones, which are places “French officials don't go because Sharia Law pertains.”
Simmons says while Secretary of State John Kerry would like perhaps over 100,000 Syrian refugees to be admitted to the United States, that Saudi Arabia and other countries in that region are better options because “the culture, the history and the languages are more or less similar. Don't bring groups into Europe and the United States who hate us and want to kill us!”
Simmons believes all world leaders should subscribe to one simple security principle: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."
He added, "We can't take anything for granted.”
University of New Haven professor Vesna Markovic, a terrorism expert, says she believes those taking part in the Paris attacks blew themselves up as a means to avoid capture rather than sacrificing than the mission of a traditional suicide bombing.
She adds that it’s far more difficult to carry out these types of massacres in the United States because it’s harder to obtain explosives.
Markovic, an assistant dean with the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, says the United States needs to be vigilant in its attempts to thwart potential attacks from the radical group ISIS, which on Monday released a video announcing the group plans to attack Washington, DC.
“You just have to have somebody with a high powered weapon and a motivation and no will to live,” said Markovic, who rattled off a list of mass shootings that ISIS could pattern its next attack after.