Counter-terrorism expert says Americans should be vigilant after Paris attacks

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - People here and across the world watched news coverage from Paris Friday night in horror.

Former New Orleans FBI special agent in charge and counter terrorism expert, Jim Bernazzani, says something was missed.

"The whole idea of effective counter-terrorism is stopping the act before it happens, and that is based not on operations, but on intelligence, and we need the intelligence to understand. I honestly believe given the scope and the number of venues in Paris, there was an intelligence failure - they missed it," said Bernazzani.

We also talked with local French teacher, Aurelie Saulnier, who is from Paris. She was frantically trying to get in touch with her family and friends.

"I'm 32, and this is not the world that I remember I grew up in, and so that is scary. I'm a mom, I'm a daughter, I am a wife, and you really wonder where you are safe now," said Saulnier.

Saulnier was in Paris in January, when Islamic extremists carried out a deadly attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. And now, this.

"It's scary to be there when this happened and scary to be here when you have people you love that are there, you feel helpless, from just watching and trying to reach people," said Saulnier.

And, Bernazzani has this advice for Americans: "They should be vigilant, they should be looking around. If they see anything suspicious, let's talk about New Orleans - you see anything out of the ordinary, the levees, the malls, if you see something that doesn't look right, don't sit on it, call the FBI."

Saulnier says she was able to reach many friends and family members in Paris who tell her they are okay. But, the city is locked down and grieving.

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