Terrorist’s Want to Choose a Date

Previously we have mentioned dates important to our country such as our Independence Day or Memorial Day, but we should also be aware of other symbolic dates, such as those related to a given religion, or dates that correspond to large groups of people being assembled in one area, such as Superbowl Sunday. Being aware of dates important to different groups and being extra vigilant in the period leading up to such days is crucial. At this point, the terrorists need to check out the site to assess weaknesses, human and physical, and to conduct dry runs.

What to Pay Attention to In Order to Stop Them?

The idea is to become aware of actions that just don’t fit the location and situation.

For example: is someone coming closer to a sensitive area than he or she has any valid reason to be? Does she stay in one place for a much longer time than the view deserves? Have you had several such small incidents lately? All those add up to suspicions. In addition, if you find “forgotten” cameras or equipment in places where there is nothing of tourist interest to photograph (such as power lines, for example), that’s not normal. Maps, drawings, and cryptic notes would also be something you should report.

Finally, anyone asking you questions related to security, such as inquiring about the patrol times of a power plant guard unit, the number of people at the facility, the air conditioning systems, or locations of emergency exits, should be documented and reported.

Moving a Weapon to the Target

Be on the lookout for nervous behavior or odd clothing for the environment, such as being heavily dressed in the 100-degree heat of summer. Should the weapon be brought in a vehicle, pay attention to large containers and vehicles that appear to be overloaded. Similarly, drivers or operators of any kind of vehicle, including private planes and boats, which do not have current valid operators’ licenses should be noted and reported. Also be aware of parked or disabled vehicles in unusual places. Unless this is a suicide operation, the terrorist now needs to escape.

The same indicators that made you suspicious of people arriving should cause you to think twice at the time when they are trying to leave. They may have less to carry, but they may be more nervous and have a greater sense of urgency.

If it is a suicide operation, the terrorist does not wish to escape. In the past, we thought we could describe fairly accurately the characteristics of a potential suicide bomber, but this is no longer the case. There is no real profile. Suicide bombs can be delivered by multiple means, such as vehicle bombs, boat bombs, airplanes used as weapons as we saw on September 11th, and an individual with an explosive strapped to his or her body. Given that the terrorist does not want to escape, the pre-incident indicators are essentially the same as for non-suicide operations with the possible extra stress of the knowledge of death leading to hesitancy, nervousness, or extra bulky clothing to conceal a device.

All in all, the primary skill for you to develop is a sense for “what just doesn’t fit.”