We now understand more then ever that the Criminal Mind will go to any extremes to accomplish their objectives. Isn’t it time then we learn to think like them? By studying the way they think, by training harder then them, by being more vigilant then them, by employing all of our resources and superior capabilities, by employing advanced surveillance technology and human intelligence, we can and will defeat them!
Let’s start right now by learning to think like the Criminal Mind.
Information is first and foremost. The Criminal Mind will go to great lengths to collect data on a target. Surveillance of the target would include taking photographs and video, making notes, illustrations, maps of the building(s) or structures or people. They will know and have practiced every route to and from the target incorporating all types of transportation. If it is not a suicide operation or and they have not been compartmentalized, they will have planned and drilled numerous escape routes.
They will study communication systems and in order to utilize them to their fullest benefit or so they can be neutralized. They may even spend long periods of time educating themselves in certain areas that will be employed against the target. Recent examples of this are flying lessons and learning to drive large commercial vehicles. They may study engineering or architecture at a university but only to cloak their real intentions such as learning to read schematics to assess weakness.
They can and do gain access to non-restricted and restricted areas by observing and studying access control points, entry and exits and other personnel that work in the same environment.
The Criminal Mind study weapon systems and understands the impact both physically and psychologically such weapons will have upon the intended target. In many instances they create and develop their own weapons. They may employ scientists, doctors, specialized engineers and other professionals in their pursuit of terror. They also purchase various weapons; biological, chemical and/or nuclear from state or private sponsors, and are highly skilled in formulating professional relationships with such entities.
They will carefully gather information on any tactical countermeasures and the reaction times to initiate such actions should an attack be launched against a designated target. This was evidenced recently when terrorists were able to easily penetrate the airspace over the pentagon and crash a jumbo jet into what many thought was the most secure building on the planet.
Next, the Criminal Mind will vigilantly study any and all physical and electronic security measures and countermeasures that may exist both inside and outside the target that will assist them in penetration. This is a very broad area and includes things like power grids, electrical sources, water sources, general accessibility, guardhouses, gates, perimeter fencing, access control, surveillance, detection devices, telecommunication systems, building materials and construction quality, to mention a few.
On a much larger scale, they study our culture; they even spend time living and working amongst us, so that they can come to understand how and why we live our lives. They do not do these things to gain an appreciation of our way of life, no, they do it to study our weaknesses and thus vulnerabilities.
If the target is a person or group of persons, they will follow them to their home, work, recreational activities and day-to-day travels. They will be under a microscope day in and day out for as long as it takes to learn everything they have to about that target. If the target has personal protection such as a bodyguard or security detail, the Criminal Mind will study every detail of their movement, actions and abilities. The adversary will also seek out information on the targets family, friends, employees and work associates with the same level of determination. When the target is a specific person and that person has a family, the children will be the prime focus of intelligence gathering.
Gathering intelligence on children is typically easier because they have highly specific routines. They go to school on a regular schedule, and they will make detailed notes as to the security measures-if any in place at their school. Things like perimeter fencing, perimeter access control, building access control, physical deterrents, and alarm systems to mention a few. They will also consider any personal protection afforded to the children. If the children do have a bodyguard, they will assess his/her position in relation to the child over the course of each hour of each day. They will study the method of transportation that is used to bring the children to and from school, whether walking, limousine, bus or other private vehicle, in addition to any individual that may be driving it.
The Criminal Mind will then apply all the same techniques and principles to the targets next greatest asset-the spouse, learning every detail about daily life, habits and activities. The next logical intelligence targets are any employees of the target. They will observe and study the employees for weaknesses in the event they (the adversary) can gather further information about the target from them or use them to gain some form of access to the targets vehicle, home or office.
The most important intelligence information that the Criminal Mind will seek to collect is daily activities along with the routes and methods of transportation and timetables. This information tells the adversary about habits and routines and thus helps formulate patterns. If a consistent pattern can be discerned, then the target is predictable and thus easier to attack.
Until recently our traditional way of thinking and posturing has been one of defense. This is going to have to change if we truly want to eliminate global terrorism. We are dealing with an Criminal Mind that is intelligent, cunning, and has no regard for life-ours or their own. We must look deeply at any and all of our vulnerabilities, review weaknesses that are present in national security, individual municipalities and our family’s daily lives.
We must re-assess our defenses for such acts of terrorism on both the domestic front and abroad and formulate more detailed defensive strategies on human and electronic intelligence, advanced warning systems, and emergency protocol and procedures. These type strategies need to be implemented in all levels of government so that even small towns can prepare for any and all contingencies. In addition, local governments should enlist the help of qualified civilians to assist in the planning and management of these potential threats. In this way, maybe we could actually lessen the bureaucracy of arguing over who is going to get credit for what and whose jurisdiction that falls under, and instead spend the time developing solutions for these potential disasters.