(KMSP) - What happened in Nice, France, the use of a truck for mass killing, while horrific, is hardly a surprise to those who closely follow terror tactics. It's a tactic that’s been talked about for years.
Former Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher runs a terrorism think tank and has studied more than a hundred jihadists.
He pointed us to Al Qaeda's own online magazine, Inspire, and this feature six years ago: "How to Turn a Truck into the Ultimate Mowing Machine."
"The idea is to use a pickup truck as a mowing machine, not to mow grass but mow down the enemies of Allah," said Fletcher.
“In fact, if you can get through to 'pedestrian only' locations that exist in some downtown (city center) areas, that would be fabulous," the article states.
It also mentions targets in the U.S., the south of France, even the Bastille Day military parade.
“Things have evolved where they want to kill as many people as possible,” said Fletcher. “It's all about the body count.”
Fletcher worries it could happen here.
A year ago, the Fox 9 Investigators reported on Amir Meshal, who is on the no-fly list, because according to Homeland Security, he's an individual who represents a threat of "engaging in or conducting a violent act of terrorism and who is operationally capable of doing so."
And yet, as the Fox 9 Investigators revealed, last year Meshal was able to get his Class A commercial driver’s license, which allows him to drive semi-trucks, tankers, even school buses. The state workforce program even paid for his training.
FIRST REPORT: Minnesota terror suspect gets a Class A trucking license
“If there was an attack in America with a truck, people are going to second guess and going to ask how did they get access to truck? How did they get a license to drive a semi? And that's the case with Amir Meshal," said Fletcher.
During the recent terror trial in Minnesota, some of the defendants testified that Amir Meshal, who was a religious mentor to some of the men, was so radical, so extreme in his views, they figured he must be an FBI informant.
Meshal's attorney Hina Shamsi released the following statement:
"Mr. Meshal's legal challenge to his placement on the No Fly List is pending, and he has also petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for judicial review of his unlawful detention and interrogation by FBI agents abroad. It bears repeating that Mr. Meshal has never been charged with a crime and wants only to live a peaceful life with his wife and children. I am deeply concerned that your recycling of old reporting and stigma in the current national environment of anti-Muslim bias and rising hate crimes risks jeopardizing the safety of Mr. Meshal and his family."