CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- Sayfullo Saipov plowed a truck through the streets of Manhattan, Tuesday, killing eight people. Saipov had three residencies in Florida and his attack was one of many that have been connected to the Sunshine State.
“On first glance, it’s a very logical question. Such a large number of folks that are affiliated in some way with a terrorist organization have some claim to Florida," said former FBI agent, Robert Foley.
The 20-year FBI veteran turned lawyer for Robery Foley Law Firm was referencing the many terrorists attacks over the last two decades that have had connections to Florida.
In 2002, D.C. sniper, Lee Malvo, was enrolled in a school in Naples. 2011, 14 out of the 19 terrorists involved in the September 11th World Trade Center act, took pilot training lessons in Venice. 2016, the Orlando Pulse Shooting was took place killing 49 people. And then in 2017, another shooting in Florida at the Ft. Lauderdale airport.
The consistent Florida connection to terrorist attacks, leaves room to question whether or not it was a coincidence.
Foley explained that Florida ranks fourth in the most arrests associated with ISIS with eight. It follows behind New York, 20, Minnesota, 13, and Virginia, 11. He says part of the reason Florida ranks high is because of the large population with 20 million people. The other part is that it's a state that is easy to come and go.
“It’s easier to blend into a transient environment, like a vacation place because you don’t see the same faces all the time,” he said.
In isolated cases, however, where Saipov presumably acted alone, Foley says it’s difficult to see the attack coming until it’s too late.
“Using a car in a populated area to run people… innocent people over, there is virtually no way to identify the potential of that taking place until it does actually take place.”
Nevertheless, Foley was clear that Florida citizens have nothing to be concerned about and trusts the FBI to do it’s job.
“America is in good hands with the men and women of the FBI… If we are in fear, than they win.”