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Boston FBI head: Police need assault rifles in case of terror attack

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Jonathan Saltzman and Maria Cramer
Boston Globe
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The top FBI agent in Boston said today that the Menino administration should revive a controversial plan to arm neighborhood officers with semiautomatic assault rifles, saying the scarcity of such weapons on the force makes Boston more vulnerable to a terrorist attack similar to the 2008 rampage in Mumbai, India, that killed 166 people.

Warren T. Bamford, the special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Boston, said other big cities in the United States have made such weapons widely available to specially trained police officers and that the issue “should be revisited sooner rather than later” in Boston.

“There’s no imminent threats,” Bamford said in a meeting with Globe editors and reporters. But, he continued, “All things being equal, if a terrorist decides, ‘OK, we’re going to do something like what took place in Mumbai,’ well, where would you go? If you have a choice of a metropolitan city, would I go to New York, with 40,000 police officers, would I go Los Angeles, with 8,000, or would I go to Boston, with 3,500 … and I know there’s no assault rifles in the Boston Police Department?”

Bamford said he had spoken with Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis about the plan to distribute assault rifles but not with Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 4:00 am

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