NJ congressman targets trucks as ‘weapons of terror’
Two years ago, an ISIS inspired lone wolf terrorist rented a truck and ran over several people in New York, killing eight and injuring a dozen others.
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. 5th District, is introducing legislation he says will prevent such attacks in the future.
He said the Darren Drake Act, named after a Bergen County man killed in the attack, will ensure that the Department of Homeland Security and TSA work closely with our car and truck rental companies “to take steps to prevent terrorists from renting those vehicles and making sure there are certain background flags, information that’s shared to prevent terrorists from renting vehicles.”
When asked what kinds of specific steps he’s referring to, Gottheimer declined to go into detail.
“I think it’s a huge mistake to lay the breadcrumbs out for terrorists and those in terror cells and other homegrown threats, so I won’t, as you imagine, I shouldn’t," he said.
When asked to describe in general terms what he’s talking about, he explained that “there are telltale signs and certain intelligence that law enforcement is able to cull on a regular basis because it’s not just used in renting trucks.”
Gottheimer said ISIS has online posts about using trucks to kill people and “every few months there’s another attack using a vehicle as a weapon of terror, and so it continues to be an issue.”
He noted ISIS inspired lone wolf terrorists remain the No. 1 threat in New Jersey, according to the FBI and the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
“I’m very confident in our excellent intelligence community and law enforcement community to continue to thwart attacks as they have regularly," the congressman said.
Gottheimer is leading a bipartisan effort to stop online postings by terrorist groups that may radicalize lone wolf attackers in this country, and most social media companies have been very responsive to discussions on this front.
“Twitter continues to have Twitter handles for Hezbollah and Hamas and their affiliated organizations," he said. “These are foreign terrorist organizations that have been designated by the United States of America. Aside from Al Qaeda, Hezbollah has killed more Americans than another terrorist organization.”
When Twitter was contacted for comment, a spokesperson responded with an emailed statement.
There is no place on Twitter for terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups that promote violence as a means to further their cause.
Twitter draws a distinction between the political and military factions of the organizations. Individuals directly representing or promoting the political factions of these organizations may use Twitter in accordance with the Twitter Rules. Accounts affiliated with the military wings, however, are permanently suspended. This is consistent with our long-standing approach towards groups designated on terrorist organization lists that also hold elected seats in government.
We may make limited exceptions for groups that have reformed or are currently engaging in peaceful resolution processes, as well as groups with representatives who have been elected to public office through elections, as is the case with parts of Hamas and Hezbollah.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com