We need Israeli-type security to guard against lone wolf terrorists, says ex-State Dept official

Key Points
  • But tighter security comes with a level of disruption that consumers and businesses have been loath to accept, James Rubin says.
  • The deadly bombing outside Manchester Arena is the type of attack that's hard to prevent in a free society, he argues.
Need to do more to protect against 'perverted ideology': James Rubin

The ever-present security measures in Israel to fight terrorism do work, but come with a level of disruption and inconvenience that American and European consumers and businesses have been loath to accept, a former State Department official told CNBC on Tuesday.

The suicide bombing on Monday night outside of Manchester Arena in Britain is the type of attack that's hard to prevent in a free society, said James Rubin, assistant secretary of State for public affairs during Bill Clinton's presidency. "Maybe our politicians haven't been as honest as they should be with us about the difficulty of guarding against that."

Twenty-two people, including children, were killed and 59 others were wounded when an explosive was detonated near one of the venue's exits after a concert by U.S. pop star Ariana Grande.

"A determined individual has always been capable of causing carnage," said Rubin. "Perhaps we need to do a slightly better job of on the defensive front in terms of packages, and all the things that consumers and business hate, like the lines at the airports."

"Countries like Israel do that. And it works," argued Rubin, who's married to CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour.

Ben-Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv is considered among the most heavily protected in the world. In Israeli cities, authorities seen and unseen are on patrol and citizens, taught as schoolchildren to be hyper-alert, are quick to report any suspicious activity.

"We've done the military effort fairly well. That's why I think there's never been a large contingent of global terrorists capable [of] doing a 9/11 again," Rubin said. "That's why ISIS didn't succeed and is about to fall completely."

But he said the U.S. and Europe have not really done the kind of "full effort on the nonmilitary side" to protect against terrorism that targets daily life.