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News > Commentary - How to stop a terrorist plot with just one finger
How to stop a terrorist plot with just one finger

Posted 2/14/2013   Updated 2/14/2013 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Nicholas M. Zallas
Antiterrorism Office

2/14/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, more than 50 terrorist plots against the United States have been foiled, many by alert citizens just like you.

America is involved in a long war against terrorism. To win, we all must remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities as they occur, not only on Hanscom Air Force Base, but also within our local communities and neighborhoods. Timely reporting by citizens is vital to thwart this sinister threat and reporting suspicious activity or persons is as easy as dialing the telephone.

If you witness any of the suspicious activities listed below on base, report it through the United States Air Force Eagle Eyes Program by contacting the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at 781-225-3937 or the Security Forces Law Enforcement Desk at 781-225-5000. If you witness these activities within your communities and neighborhoods, report it to your local police department.

1. Look for any signs of surveillance: Anyone taking notes or monitoring activities on or off the installation. For example, someone using cameras, to include cell phone cameras or video recorders, inside or outside the perimeter of the installation, near schools, malls, sporting events or other similar mass gathering venues.

2. Watch out for elicitation: Any person or organization secretly attempting to gain information by mail, telephone, facsimile or in person about military operations, missions and personnel, or attempts to gain in-depth information about security at a particular facility or public event.

3. Recognize tests of base security: Any attempt to measure reaction times to security breaches or bypassing physical security measures or procedures.

4. Acquiring supplies: This generally refers to purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammunition, uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes or badges, along with the equipment to manufacture them or any other controlled items.

5. Look out for any suspicious person that appears out of place: People that do not appear to belong at your work center, in your neighborhood or anywhere else. You know better than anyone who should be in your work areas, communities and neighborhoods and if something appears out of place or suspicious.

6. Dry runs: Placing operatives in position and conducting a dress rehearsal by practicing or exercising a terrorist incident. This includes someone mapping out driving routes or recording the timing of traffic lights and flow.

7. Deployment assets: People and supplies being positioned to commit a terrorist act. This is your last chance to alert authorities before a terrorist act occurs. If it doesn't look right, report it immediately.

Remember, your reports play a critical role in keeping both the military and civilian communities safe from the threat of terrorism. Stopping a terrorist plot can be as easy as using one finger - to report suspicious activity to AFOSI, security forces or your local police department.

Force protection is everyone's business and everyone is a sensor. If you see something, say something.

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