CIA said to have warned Spanish authorities two months before Barcelona attack

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Catalan police were warned two months ago about a possible terrorist attack on Las Ramblas, Spanish media have reported.

The CIA told Los Mossos, the Catalonian regional police force, that Barcelona was a top target for jihadist terrorists as recently as June this year, El Peridoco, a local paper, reported on Friday.

“Two months ago the Central Intelligence Agency passed a notice to the Catalan autonomous police,” the paper said. “It even warned of the risk to Las Ramblas,” the pedestrian thoroughfare hit by an attack on Thursday.

The reported warning followed a series of high-profile vehicle attacks in London, Stockholm, Berlin, and Nice and came amid a mounting concern amongst Spanish and foreign intelligence agencies that the Catalan capital could be next on the jihadist hit list.

The last successful Islamist terrorist attack in Spain was in March 11 2004, when a suspected al Qaeda terror cell exploded bombs on several Madrid commuter trains in a series of coordinated attacks, killing 192 and injuring more than 2,000.

Source: The Telegraph

Analysis: As we noted earlier this week, ISIS and other terrorist organizations targeting have settled on the automobile as their primary method of launching attacks. Cars and trucks are easy to obtain, less conspicuous and far less risky than attempting to smuggle or obtain firearms and explosives. In fact, as this source documents, over a year ago ISIS began instructing recruits on how to conduct terrorist attacks on a budget — such as using a vehicle, preferably a large van.

This also poses a huge problem for authorities, because no one is likely to ban automobiles anytime soon. The fact that the CIA notified Spanish police a couple months ago to specifically warn about the possibility of a vehicle-borne terrorist attack, only to see one carried out, highlights the difficulty Western governments face in dealing with this particular threat. So ‘prevention’ remains the same: Identifying would-be terrorists before they strike, which is, of course, easier said than done in open democracies.

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