by Paul French
(From the Informed Source Newsletter, published by Profiles Threat Countermeasures Group.)
As a security consultant with many years experience advising corporations on international contingency planning, disaster recovery and overseas protective security measures, I have on many occasions had to consider numerous local factors that impacted our clients' safety and security. This has often included local terrorist or revolutionary groups.
Now we have to expand that same thought process in the domestic arena. For many years we have known that the type and style of a bomb is only limited by the imagination of the maker; so too is a terrorist attack. America by its very nature is an itinerant working society, travel is an essential part of successful commerce, and the terrorists know this.
It is both our strength economically, and our weakness; we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. We must travel to conduct business, and therefore we must be more circumspect in the way that we travel, especially when traveling overseas.
Those things that the Israeli's have lived with are fast becoming part of our lives. In a recent discussion with a colleague we tried to imagine ourselves in the place of the terrorist, what would we do next and more importantly what could we do to prevent or negate it's effect.
We came up with several scenarios including:
1) Leasing a corporate jet from one of the many brokering services at an FBO. An example would be in Van Nuys, CA from where many Citation X aircraft operate . These vessels have a capability of mach 0.98 and carry a substantial fuel load. There is no x-ray or search process at most FBO's and would a customer service representative know a counterfeit ID if they saw it? Probably not! In short, no searches, no real security checks and Van Nuys to downtown LA in less than 6 minutes.
2) The heartland of America is wide open to individual car bomb attacks (a la IRA) . The impact of explosions in small town USA without warning or a logical pattern of targeting would present a very difficult challenge to law enforcement, both from a preventative measure and an investigative perspective. Rental car agencies beware!
3) All major airports rely upon navigational beacons for the smooth and accurate flow of traffic. Most beacons and navigational aids are either at or beyond the perimeter of airport property and thus vulnerable to attack. Can you begin to imagine the effect loss of navigational data would have on incoming traffic around a busy international hub?
4) Finally, we decided that the "personal bomber" aka suicide bomber, presents the greatest risk to our public, and can have the most devastating effect on the actual populace, as he strikes without warning as we board our buses and trains, or enter the malls with our families. New York while being a tragedy is still a little impersonal since many Americans have never even been out of their home state or neighboring states, never mind to Manhattan. The sight of such an atrocity taking place in the local mall makes it personal, and the threat is now real, and sadly so is the fear.
The purpose of this article is not to create panic or concern in our profession, but to encourage each and every one of us to stretch our mental abilities and create more and more outlandish scenarios, so that we may create the plans to counter each and every one of these potential fiendish atrocities. My own experiences with the IRA demonstrates that the resolve of the Nation dictates the effectiveness of the campaign.
For many years the IRA waged a ruthless campaign of bombing in London. Car bombs, small incendiary devices, parcel bombs and other strategically placed bombs blew up in Post Offices, restaurants and rail stations, but life went on. The investigations and clean up continued, but the resolve of the public was unchanged, the IRA would not win and nor has it. We have an incredible amount of talent available to us and should now be pulling together and show that we truly are one nation, indivisible, under God.
Among his many high level credentials, Paul French is a counterterrorist expert, and one of the most highly respected members of the security protective profession, Mr. French has been involved in executive protection, counter-intelligence and hostile environment intelligence operations for many years. He is a managing partner of Paul French International, a Los Angeles based security consultancy providing executive protection training courses, overseas security management and security consulting services. Mr. French is also the Senior International Corporate Protection advisor for Informed Source Newsletter. His contact info is: www.researchandinformation.com Tel: 818-752-6903 e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
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