Criminals and terrorists have long used official vehicles, “cloned” vehicles (those painted/decorated to appear official), or seemingly legitimate vehicles (e.g. livery, maintenance or delivery) to circumvent security measures at targets of interest. There have been numerous terrorist attacks overseas wherein operatives used police vehicles or ambulances (or vehicles painted to resemble same) to conceal improvised explosive devices. Within the US Homeland, the most common use of cloned official vehicles by criminals is for drug smuggling; however, at least one terrorist targeting New York envisioned misusing vehicles that would appear to be legitimate, in order to conduct an attack. Dhiren Barot, an al Qaeda operative involved in the 2004 Financial Centers Plot, allegedly plotted to detonate three limousines packed with explosives and gas cylinders in underground parking lots in Manhattan. While the limousines would not have masqueraded as “official vehicles” per se they would have appeared to be legitimately entering those parking structures.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has released issue 9 of its English-language “Inspire” Magazine. There is a portion of the magazine dedicated to attacking the United States by starting wildfires. The article instructs the audience to look for two necessary factors for a successful wildfire, which are dryness and high winds to help spread the fire. Specific fire conditions that are likely to spread fire quickly are Pinewood, crownfires (where the trees and branches are close together), and steep slope fires (fire spreads faster going up a slope).
Do you want to know what kind of information fusion centers gather on you and your friends? A document contained in the recent Anonymous/AntiSec hack of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office provides a great deal of insight into what kind of information is gathered and processed by fusion centers at the request of local law enforcement. The document is described as a “biographical profile” and was produced by the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange (CFIX), a regional fusion center serving a number of counties including Brevard, Lake, Orange, Seminole and Volusia. CFIX is one of several fusion centers in the state of Florida, part of a larger network of more than seventy operating all around the country. When the Lake County Sheriff’s Office asked for a “workup” on a man being investigated for charges relating to child pornography, CFIX produced a six page profile on the subject, who had no prior criminal history. The report has a flashy cover festooned with logos, restrictive markings and even a graphical depiction of the man’s name, meaning that an employee of the fusion center did not just type the man’s name into a word processor, but actually took the time to produce an individualized graphic with stylistic highlights and shadows.
A new stock is being produced by Slide Solutions as a product named the SSAR-15. The product, a bump fire stock, is being sold over the internet and at local gun stores which easily converts special models of the AR to a fully automatic weapon. Information has been received that a Louisiana gun store in Lafayette has ten of them in stock and are selling them for around $380.00 a piece.
Over the last week, approximately 10 Energy Sector substations in the Marshall and Battle Creek area have been the victims of copper theft. Because the current street value for scrap copper is over $4.00 per pound, electric substations have become lucrative targets. The targeting of substations for copper has been an issue for over a year. The recent thefts from substations in the greater Flint area caused significant power outages to the area and safety issues for first responders. The suspects are stealing the grounding system conductors and other wires stored at the substation at night. This is accomplished by digging up sections of the grounding system conductors and cutting it off from the power units. The process is time-consuming and requires the suspects to go inside the substation perimeter fence. A few sites have experienced repeated offenses of copper theft.
Group logos, flags, and other extremist imagery are prevalent throughout most terrorist and extremist groups. Imagery provides a means of evoking existing emotional and historical memories in addition to communicating ideas to potential recruits. Logos and symbols are often used as visual representation of groups and/or their ideology. Print, internet propaganda, tattoos, clothing and accessories, stickers, and other graphic media are the most common representations of extremist imagery. First responders need to be aware of common extremist imagery as it may indicate involvement or support for a particular domestic extremist organization or international terrorist group.
Cop Block, based on the description on their Facebook page, is a “decentralized project supported by a diverse group of individuals united by their shared goals of police accountability, education of individual rights and the dissemination of effective tactics to utilize while filming police.” The project was founded in 2010 by an individual who started Cop Block due to his personal experiences with law enforcement when he was “a victim of the war on drugs, twice”.
Two Massachusetts schools received letters postmarked from Dallas, TX today, March 6, 2012, which contained a white powder. The letters were received at the Memorial Elementary School in Milford, MA and the Dedham Middle School in Dedham, MA. The incidents are being investigated by the FBI and the Department of Fire Services Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Division. Additionally, a letter was also received at a school in Warwick, Rhode Island, one at a school in Fort Kent, Maine and one at a school in Goffstown, NH. On 3/5/2012, a school in CT received a white powder letter. A photo of one of the envelopes is shown below as well as maps of the affected MA schools.
Since 2007 an unknown subject has sent more than 360 letters containing a white, powder substance to various government officials, public schools and other locations. In May, 2011 20 letters were delivered to public schools in Washington, DC. Over the past two days similar letters have been received in Washington, DC; New York, New York; Dallas, Texas and Enfield, Connecticut.
Today Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined by West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Jimmy Gianato and West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center Director Thom Kirk together announced a new mobile app, that enables West Virginians to submit tips concerning suspicious criminal and terrorist activity, is now available for smartphones. “Through the use of innovative technology our citizens can download the new Suspicious Activity Reporting Application for free and help protect their own communities,” Gov. Tomblin said. “With the assistance of our citizens, important information can quickly get into the hands of our law enforcement community allowing them to provide better protection. This is just another example of my administration’s commitment to helping keep our streets and citizens safer.”
An example of a weekly bulletin released by the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center to local businesses through its “Private Sector Terrorism Response Group” (PSTRG) on January 6, 2012. The PSTRG was created in “December 2001 to create a private sector partnership [that can] effectively address private sector safety, incident management, employee education and public health consequences of potential attacks on the critical infrastructure within Orange County. Two large groups involved with PSTRG are the Orange County Business Council, of which 80% of the major businesses in Orange County are members, and Technet, a consortium of 28 high tech firms.” The bulletin includes excerpts of news articles related to terrorism, a list of upcoming events, including dirt bike events and rodeos, as well as a helpful list of upcoming television shows on the History Channel and other networks that relate in some manner to terrorism.
Steganography—the practice of concealing data within a carrier—may be used to obscure malicious or criminal information and activity from law enforcement. While steganography dates to the fifth century BC, it has long been regarded as, and remains, one of the most advanced forms of clandestine communication. In modern usage, the Internet allows accessibility to, and broad dissemination of, steganography tools, and its application continues to evolve with technology. Understanding steganography in its current state is essential to its identification and detection.
US citizens and assets – including the White House, the Central Intelligence Agency, InfraGard, the state of Arizona, and major defense contracting companies – experienced high-profile cyber threats and attacks in the first half of 2011. Most of the tactics and techniques used were not new, however the increase in attacks during the past few months exemplifies the growth of cyber incursions and reinforces the need to be aware of risks and mitigation techniques associated with cyber threats.
The purpose of this bulletin is officer awareness. Officers should know that instigators involved in violent demonstrations might be familiar with, and might try to apply, techniques from the “Crowd Control and Riot Manual.” The handbook, from Warrior Publications teaches protestors how to defeat law enforcement crowd control techniques. Although it does not address specific groups or organizations, the information is widely applicable.
As articulated in the United States Constitution, one of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment is the right of persons and groups to assemble peacefully. Whether demonstrating, counterprotesting, or showing support for a cause, individuals and groups have the right to peacefully gather. Law enforcement, in turn, has the responsibility to ensure public safety while protecting the privacy and associated rights of individuals. To support agencies as they fulfill their public safety responsibilities, the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC) developed this paper to provide guidance and recommendations to law enforcement officers in understanding their role in First Amendment-protected events. This paper is divided into three areas, designed to provide in-depth guidance for law enforcement.
The purpose of this assessment is to provide situational awareness of suspicious incidents involving the ESS, as reported by local public safety officials and State and Local Fusion Centers in Indiana, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, and Illinois.
The Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC) is releasing this informational bulletin to enhance the situational awareness of law enforcement and security personnel with regard to a highly suspicious break-in incident that occurred on 24 October 2011 at the Haralson County Water Treatment Facility. During this incident, a subject broke in to the facility and was recorded (via security camera) taking pictures of the facility’s chlorination system, including the chlorine tank. In light of this highly suspicious incident, GISAC is urging facilities to be vigilant in their security measures and report any suspicious activity regarding water treatment facilities, or other critical infrastructure as soon as possible.
Copies of an “informational” letter were left on a table for protestors pick up and read during the “Occupy Phoenix” event at Cesar Chavez Park. The presence of the letter was reported to the ACTIC by a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy who had responded to an un-related call and was alerted to it by another deputy working the event. This letter is blatantly anti-government and anti-law enforcement in nature. It not only condones but even encourages citizens to kill any “government agent” (i.e. law enforcement officer), who in their perception violates their rights. Examples are given in the document, of “illegal” search and seizure, sobriety and border checkpoints, airport security, etc… In essence this document states that citizens have the right and moral obligation to resist any action by law enforcement that is viewed as a violation of the citizen’s rights, and often-times resistance involves killing officers.
The Nebraska Information Analysis Center, the state’s law enforcement data fusion center, has unveiled a website for collecting suspicious activity reports from the public. By clicking on Suspicious Activity Report in the Quick Links box on the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) homepage, residents can access the SAR portal and provide information on suspicious events they believe should be shared with law enforcement. The automated website uses software from the Memex Solutions Team at SAS, which helps analysts evaluate and respond to SARs more effectively, Memex officials said.
Northern California Regional Intelligence Center presentation on “Fusion Centers Information Sharing, Analysis and Coordination” from October 2011.
The intent of the Houston HIDTA Threat Assessment, produced by the Houston Intelligence Support Center (HISC), is to identify the potential impact of drug trafficking trends within the Houston HIDTA and to deliver accurate and timely strategic intelligence to assist law enforcement agencies in the development of drug enforcement strategies.
The recent ten-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks brought a deluge of news regarding the transformation of the United States in the wake of the most devastating terrorist attacks in the country’s history. Many reports focused on debating the efficacy, or lack thereof, of policies implemented over the decade since the attacks occurred. One set of particularly revealing reports from the Center for Investigative Journalism discussed suspicious activity reporting at the Mall of America and the transformation of Homeland Security following September 11. Some publications discussed the waste inherent in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its various grant programs. In addition to these critical evaluations of security policy, a number of public relations pieces from the national network of fusion centers appeared in local publications around the country. A local television station in Michigan covered the state’s local fusion center, having “unprecedented access” to walk around inside without cameras. Another piece from Tennessee discussed the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s fusion center, ending with appeals for viewers to report suspicious activity and “say something” if they “see something”. Articles from other states including Arkansas and Alabama, sometimes written by Homeland Security officials, emphasized the important work of their local fusion centers and the continued need for funding and support.
Contact list by region including the names and phone numbers of approximately 68 Intelligence Officers and Regional Directors assigned to fusion centers around the United States.
DHS presentation titled “The National Network of Fusion Center: Where We Have Been and Where We are Going” containing general overview information on fusion centers from August 1, 2011.
The growing popularity of methamphetamine over the past 15 years has increased the risk of exposure to the surrounding community and law enforcements personnel. Methamphetamine is a controlled substance that is “cooked” using many common household ingredients which can be volatile and generates by‐products that can be very harmful to humans. When these products are combined, they emit toxic fumes and may cause chemical burns upon contact. Toxic residue from the cooking process saturates every surface and can remain there for months or years if not properly sterilized. Since the chemicals can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin, everyone coming in contact with those surfaces is vulnerable. Acute exposure occurs over a relatively short time and produces symptoms that include: shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, dizziness, lack of coordination, chemical irritation, and burns to the skin, eyes, nose, or mouth. If toxicity levels are fairly high or a person is particularly vulnerable (i.e. pre‐existing breathing problems), acute exposure can cause death. Less significant exposure can result in headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, or lethargy, and can lead to other long‐term health problems.