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Utah expert not surprised by site of Orlando attack

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Posted at 6:16 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-13 20:16:28-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The director of the National Security Program at Utah Valley University, Ryan Vogel, said a lone wolf attacker like Omar Mateen is the most likely culprit of terrorist acts in the U.S. going forward.

Vogel was a senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense specializing in counter-terrorism before leaving for his academic post. He said he’s not surprised Mateen went after an Orlando nightclub rather than a higher-profile target.

“This is exactly the kind of target that a lone wolf without the resources of the organization would conduct. Something on a soft target like a bar or bus stop, something like that rather than a large scale operation from the formal group itself," Vogel said.

Vogel said the U.S. doesn’t have the kind of close-knit large communities of disaffected Muslim men that are present in many European cities because Europe is closer to war-torn countries in the Middle East, and because the U.S. is better at integrating immigrants into society. Those factors, Vogel said, make isolated extremists a more common threat in American cities.