TODAY   |  September 23, 2013

US not ‘changing tactics’ after Kenyan mall attack

Roger Cressey, a member of the National Security Council during the 9/11 attacks, tells TODAY’s Matt Lauer that he does not see the U.S. changing counter-terrorism tactics because of the attack in Kenya on a “soft target.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> he worked in somalia shortly before the black hawk down incident. he is now an nbc news terrorism analyst. good morning to you.

>> good morning, matt.

>> we know they have hostages and this group killed more than 60 people over the weekend. anything you have seen or heard over the weekend that leaves you to believe they maybe able to release the hostages unarmed?

>> highly unlikely. the body count is going to go up. shabab came in for one reason only and that is to kill. this isn't a traditional hostage situation where there's political demands going to be met. the other thing is to get as much coverage of this attack to demonstrate to kenyan authorities and to the broader international community that they maintain a viable capability to inflict pain in the region.

>> this group is tweeth over the weekend. they tweeted that there are americans among the attackers. so first off roger, do you think they managed to recruit and radicalize americans or somalis living in this country to take part in this attack?

>> shabab for years tried and successfully recruited somali americans to go back and fight in the civil war . they're a product of the somali civil war and somalia is very clan-based. so there are elements of the somali-american community of the united states who are susceptible to calls to ask their youth to come back to somalia and fight in the war. we don't know if the claims about this current attack are accurate but this has been an concern for a number of years.

>> when you talk about recruitment, clearly an event like this over the weekend, i hate to even put it this way roger, but this has to make their recruitment even easier among the fringe radicals.

>> so for any part of the somali somali-american community that's susceptible to wanting to go back to somalia , this will be attractive but there's also other elements of the community that hate what's going on and they're trying to work with local law enforcement to stem the ability of shabab and other organizations to be able to recruit from this community.

>> let me bring this back to the united states and other countries around the world. this happened in a shopping mall . a maize of exits and entrances. hard to security. there's thousands of those facilities here in this country. do we need to rethink security here at home at places like that?

>> matt swrer, we talked for years about the vulnerability of soft targets like shopping malls . we have been focussing on it for over a decade. we're not going to change our approach but a highly coordinated attack by a small group of people can be lethal and deadly. we don't have that threat inside the united states but you can guarantee that shabab and other organizations are going to look at the success in nairobi and see if they can duplicate it elsewhere.

>> that's not good news. thank