Episode 179 - Surveillance Detection


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In today’s podcast episode, the topic is surveillance detection. The content for this episode is taken from an article authored by Tony Scotti which appeared in the May 1992 issue of Security Management Magazine.

Throughout history, terrorists have appeared invincible. They plan their operations meticulously to ensure success, and, once implemented, they seldom fail to strike and kill their targets.

If their attack is against an individual, terrorists gather information and intelligence through surveillance. To select a target, terrorists begin by picking a group of individuals. The information they collect during surveillance is used to narrow the field of candidates.

When a target is finally chosen, surveillance continues. The reason terrorists succeed is that they never attack unless they have a well-organized plan, and their plan is supported by information and intelligence gathered through surveillance. Because of this factor, surveillance detection is the best way to protect unsuspecting executives from the harm planned by terrorists.

The objective of surveillance is to gather information to develop a precise plan. The most important information terrorists gather from surveillance is a target’s daily schedule. Terrorists document what time their victims leave for work, what type of cars they drive, what routes they drive to work, what time they go to lunch, where they go for lunch, and where they go for leisure activity. The Terrorists’ objective is to know every step their target takes. To be successful, terrorists must take a victim by surprise. In the process of surveillance, however, terrorists often inadvertently give signals that they are organizing an attack. These signals are called pre-incident indicators.

The objective of surveillance detection is to read these signals and take action to prevent an incident. Pre-incident indicators, no matter how many or how often, must be detected and acted on. Unfortunately, many times they are ignored.

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