Conflict & Justice

Europe's lame counterterrorism efforts: It must build links to its Muslim communities

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People gather at the Place de la Bourse to pay tribute to the victims of Tuesday's bomb attacks in Brussels on Friday.

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Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Europe is having trouble, to put it mildly, with counterterrorism.

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The United States is helping plenty in the investigations following the Paris and Brussels attacks, says Juliette Kayyem, a security analyst and former Homeland Security official.

How? Sharing no-fly lists with the Europeans. Also helping with border control and greatly needed intelligence-gathering tactics, says Kayyem.

"The FBI has a major presence in all of these European countries," says Kayyem. "The FBI is clearly helping in both of these investigations and to thwart future attacks."

But Europe must move fast to form links to Muslim communities to gain information about possible terrorists in their midst, she says. The suspected Paris attacker seized Friday had been on the lam for more than four months — and was found in his mom's home.

"Belgium and France and other European countries have not been good in terms of integrating their Muslim communtiies — that's why we're seeing this kind of radicalization,'' Kayyem says. "So you're going to have to see at least some outreach and effort as regards better working relationships with these communities that may know a lot more than we clearly do."

She also says Belgium and other European countries need to change their laws to make it easier for police to raid homes where suspected terrorists may be hiding.

In Belgium, police have not been allowed to raid a home from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

"It's time to stop being so sensitive to people's sleep," she says. "I think they are going to change all of these laws, they have to. It is their citizens who dying."

Kayyem says to expect a much more aggressive US security apparatus in Europe. But she warns:

"The likelihood of being able to find every person who has the capacity to build a relatively easy-to-build bomb and go to a soft target is very, very difficult," she says. "There will be other attacks, this is not fatalistic, it is just to brace people for the kind of threat that we now face."