New FBI Atlanta head discusses counterterrorism

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ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has learned about terrorism investigations under way in Georgia every day.   

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne questioned the new special agent in charge of the Atlanta division inside the local FBI headquarters Thursday. Agent Mark Giuliano admitted his division is keeping tabs on people in the state for terrorism potential.

“There are a number," he told Winne.

But Giuliano said despite potential threats, Georgians shouldn’t be quick to panic.

Few are better equipped to point the way behind the curtains of counterterrorism in America than Giuliano. He previously served as the point person for the FBI's war on terror, over its counterterrorism operations worldwide.

“A great team up there, which really made it bearable, but you go to sleep every night wondering if something is going to go wrong here or somewhere else,” Giuliano said.

A dozen years ago, he oversaw bank robbery investigations in Georgia. But after the Sept. 11 attacks changed the FBI's mission, his did too.

Now, he suggests Georgia is vulnerable for what it has and Atlanta is vulnerable, like every other major metropolitan area.

“It has the busiest airport in the world. It has mass public transportation. We have nuclear facilities. We have military bases. All of those we know historically are targets,” he said. “So, that is why we have a very robust joint terrorism task force in the city, and we work very closely with the state and local and other federal agencies to make sure we're on top of those threats.”

He said the threat comes from domestic and international fronts, and despite four years of success leading the bureau's counterterrorism battle, he's learned, “You can’t rest,” he said.

Giuliano said a particular concern now, internally and domestically, is the lone wolf who may be inspired by a terror group but has no direct ties, which is a challenge to detect.
   
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