Stopping the Killers

The terrorism threat hasn't changed. This is still an active war. Although our nation has not been successfully attacked within the last eight years, doesn't mean we are not at risk.


Which group is easiest to interdict, and therefore disrupt a terrorist attack as a patrol officer or local investigator? Providing you are receptive to the above mentioned terrorist attack indicators and actively seeking, the intelligence gathering link is the weakest, with supportive role being next. As any good cop will attest, being proactive with enforcement activities stops crimes before they happen.

Terrorists are nothing more than super-criminals in that their sole focus is to kill, maim and destroy. However, since they are still criminally minded they engage in unlawful activities that are routinely encountered by the local aggressive uniformed officer. When conducting your normal drug interdiction, and criminal patrol operations with the goal of searching vehicles or persons for evidence of drugs, guns, and other traditional crimes, keep in the mind the following: Is this person a terrorist by being a member of a Support, Intelligence or Operational Cell? Potential evidence observed by you during your search may help you identify which actor you have. Consider the evidence below:

  • Maps, Passports, Pre-Pay Cell Phones/Credit Cards, Calling Cards, Webpages showing locations or facilities, newspaper articles of the same topic, etc. Which cell seeks to obtain this type of information? Support.
  • Still photographs, videos, cellphone pictures or movie files of locations out of the ordinary for the person in possession of the items. Notes detailing the delivery times of merchandise, number of personnel, security assets, or activities that are unusual although appearing innocent? Which cell functions in this manner? Intelligence.
  • Individuals traveling in a small group (3-5), cleanly shaven and bathed, neatly dressed, covered in perfumes (preparation to meet Allah), having the "thousand yard stare", signs out of the ordinary for nervousness; sweating, fidgeting, deceptiveness and delayed answers to common questions, such as "Where are you headed?" in addition to passengers muttering softly over and over again, "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great). Which cell exhibits these traits? Operators. You need to exercise extreme caution with this group. Encountering these individuals means you may have just interdicted terrorists at the culmination of the execution phase of a terrorist attack. High Risk Stop Procedures, Back-Up and watch your "six-o'clock". The preferred method of killing a cop by terrorists is attacking the officer from behind while he or she is distracted.

The least you need to know for this section:

  1. Analysis tell us that terrorists prefer the attack methods of Bombings, Shootings, and Kidnappings (in that order).
  2. Look for evidence pointing to Bombings, Shootings and Kidnappings.
  3. Support Cell members provide the "means" and Intelligence Cells members provide the "information" for the Operator Cell members who carry out the attack.
  4. The type of evidence discovered could help identity which kind of cell you may be dealing with.
  5. Non-Operator cell members may consists of the elderly, middle aged women, children, workers in low level positions that have a wide access to a facility (maintenance or janitorial) or at the other end of the spectrum, those in positions of prominence.
  6. Typical police criminal interdiction methods have proven effective with stopping terrorist attacks by identifying either Support or Intelligence Cells that lead to the Operations Cell.
  7. Patrol Officers need to be receptive to recognizing terrorism clues as readily as other clues usually associated with other more traditional crimes.
  8. The weakest link (most prone to discovery) in the overall terrorist attack process is the Intelligence stage, followed by the Support stage.
  9. Discovering the Operators - those who carry out the attack - is a last minute event, usually done by accident.

Police Officers need to exercise their survival skills when encountering any potential member of a terrorist cell, in particular the Operator Cell.



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