All civilized people were outraged by the terrorist attack during the Boston Marathon on April 15. My readers have noted some similarities between the fictional terrorists in mynovel TIME FALL and the ethnic Chechen brothers who slaughtered and maimed so many innocents. I was asked if characters and events in the book – including the use of “Caucasion” Islamic terrorists to evade racial profiling by Western counterterrorism authorities – were based on fact.
Early in my career, I worked in the counterterrorism field, and subsequently was a member of then Vice President George Bush’s “Counterterrorism Working Group” prior to the 1988 presidential campaign. I continue to follow trends in the seemingly perpetual war against Jihadists. Much of the terrorism-related action in TIME FALL was indeed based on recent intelligence.
While Sebastian, the terrorist leader in TIME FALL, is an ethnic Bosnian Muslim, born in Germany, his background parallels that of the Tsarnaev brothers: law-abiding immigrant
parents who fled a bloody conflict in their Islamic homeland, radicalized at an early age, zero regard for human life and no sense of remorse. Sebastian’s fellow terrorist trainees included Chechens like the Tsarnaevs.
In TIME FALL Sebastian uses “a secure database of over one thousand dormant operatives based in the EU” to recruit “young, light-complexioned” Muslim terrorists for his plot to massacre hundreds at a Youth Conference. In reality, German and American authorities have been concerned about terror attacks from such operatives who more easily blend into the general population (despite official denials, racial profiling is used by counterterrorism authorities in every country, including the United States). Also, like the plot of TIME FALL, evidence is emerging that the Tsarnaevs were members of a terrorist “sleeper cell” with possible links to Al Qaeda.
Sadly, attacks like that at the Boston Marathon were not unexpected. Terrorists will continue to develop new strategies and tactics to wage their senseless Jihad. But as the Romans said, “praemonitus, praemunitus” (“forewarned is forearmed.”)