How can terrorists be stopped?

The terrible attacks in Paris last night remind us that evil is part of the world that we live in. Events of this sort always bring to mind the concern about stopping the next attack by terrorists.

Fortunately, mounting a large attack of this sort requires more planning, discipline and resources than most grassroots jihadists can accomplish. The steps to an attack are also much more complex than on-the-job training on a battlefield. These steps are detailed in a Stratfor discussion of terrorist tradecraft:

–International travel on counterfeit documents
–Funding for operational expenses
–Acquiring language skills
–Target surveillance
–Weapon acquisition
–Attack practice runs
–Covert communications

Detecting this preparatory activity is critical to stopping an attack. By the time that security forces respond to an explosion the race has been lost. A mix of federal government and local police intelligence is the key to preventing jihadist activity. Unfortunately, critical elements such as effective collection of cellphone metadata is easy for naive politicians to attack.

The situation in France has a more personal aspect as well. I had considered attending a professional meeting for a client; it will be opening in the next few days a mile from one of the killing sites.