In the year since Sandy Hook, there have been a combined total of 22 actual school attacks and disrupted plots nationwide with some of the attacks resulting in the deaths of students and school personnel. The New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center (ROIC) has examined recent reporting on the Sandy Hook attack and the incidents over the last year and provides the following analysis to law enforcement, school resource officers (SROs), and administrators to assist in school security planning efforts.
One of the most serious threats facing New Jersey and the entire U.S. Homeland continues to be that of the active shooter, regardless of motivation, who by the very nature of their associated tactics, techniques, and procedures, pose a serious challenge to security personnel based on their ability to operate independently, making them extremely difficult to detect and disrupt before conducting an attack.
The New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center (NJ ROIC) provides the following updated analysis of mass shootings in the last year (December 2012 to October 2013) in order to provide law enforcement personnel, security managers and emergency personnel with identified commonalities and trends, as well as indicators of potential violence.
(U//FOUO) New Jersey Fusion Center: Boston Marathon Bombing Used to Disseminate Malware and Conduct Fraud
Websites and emails referencing the Boston Marathon bombing should be viewed with caution, as malicious actors are using the incident to disseminate malware and conduct fraud. While other agencies investigate the frauds, the NJ ROIC provides this information for situational awareness.
During recent weeks, various sources in law enforcement and media outlets have been reporting phone kidnapping scams occurring in Central and Northern New Jersey and New York. In most incidents, scammers have alleged that a member of the phone scam victim’s family had been involved in a car accident and claimed to have taken the victim’s family member hostage. The scammers then claim they will drop their hostage at a hospital after a certain amount of money (usually $1500‐2000) is wired via Western Union to the scammers, as restitution for damage to the scammer’s vehicle. In addition, the scammers state that they have the hostage’s cell phone and any attempts to call the cell phone or disengage from the conversation will result in the murder or beating of the hostage.
This report attempts to analyze the indicators and commonalities of recent school shootings in an effort to inform public safety officials and assist in the detection and prevention of potential school shooter plots or attacks. All incidents included in this assessment occurred in the United States while classes were in session. Domestic violence shootings and gang violence were not included in an effort to differentiate between “active shooter” incidents and other acts of violence. DHS defines an “active shooter” as an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.
This report examines the 29 deadliest mass shootings in the past 13 years, starting with the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999, to identify commonalities and trends. These 29 incidents include shooting incidents in which at least five people were killed.
In February and March 2012, unauthorized IP addresses accessed the Industrial Control System (ICS) network of a New Jersey air conditioning company, US Business 1. The intruders were able to access a backdoor into the ICS system that allowed access to the main control mechanism for the company’s internal heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units. US Business 1 was using the Tridium Niagara ICS system, which has been widely reported in the media to contain multiple vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to remotely control the system.
A recent terrorist attack on a resort hotel in Afghanistan demonstrates the vulnerability of hotels and other “soft” targets to these types of assaults. On June 22, 2012, Afghan forces retook a lakeside hotel outside of Kabul from a Taliban suicide assault team that was holding dozens of civilian hostages. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack, calling the hotel and others near it a “hub of obscenity and vulgarity.”
On January 25, 2012, police officers in Utah arrested two teenagers after discovering that they planned to bomb their high school. The plot was foiled because another student received suspicious text messages from one of the boys and notified school administrators. During the subsequent investigation, police were able to corroborate the initial tip. The two suspects had blueprints of the school and planned to steal a plane at a nearby airport after their attack. They told police they were learning to fly on a flight-simulator program on their home computers.
As of June 2010, MS-13 members in Los Angeles have directed operational activities of new MS-13 members in Birmingham, United Kingdom, using gaming consoles such as Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox 360. The MS-13 leaders appear to be taking advantage of the devices’ voice over internet protocol (VOIP), text chat, virtual world, and video teleconferencing features, which allow them to communicate with fellow gang members overseas.
“Designer drugs,” substances that have been developed especially to avoid existing drug control measures, are becoming a major concern across the nation and in New Jersey. One widely publicized “designer drug,” mephedrone, has been reported in an increasing number of countries and regions, and many countries have placed it under national control.
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania Regional Catastrophic Planning Team Regional Mass Fatality Response System Planning Brief, September 21st, 2010.
This device, which is a “bangstick,” measuring 4 5/8” in length with a 1 ¾” barrel and capable of firing either a single .38 cal. short Colt, .38 special or .357 magnum cartridge, is intended for use by fishermen and scuba divers to kill sharks and alligators. When used in such a way it is attached to a threaded pole and then used as a prod to hit the target. A very slight tap at the end of the barrel will cause the device to discharge. The “bangstick” is considered a firearm. ATF has classified this device as an “any other weapon” that is prosecutable by 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines under Title 26, Section 5871. These devices can be found at almost any scuba or diving accessories shop.
FOUO New Jersey Suspicious Activity Reporting Brief, January 28, 2010.
Cyberterrorism is an attractive option for foreign-born and domestic terrorists who value its anonymity, potential to inflict massive damage, psychological impact and media appeal. As a new, more computer-savvy generation of terrorists comes of age, the threat of cyber-terror attack is likely to increase.
The NJ ROIC has been monitoring two incidents involving reactionary devices on this date, 06/27/10, one that occurred at 0100 Hours in Lakewood Twp., Ocean Co., and another that occurred at 1145 Hours in Neptune Twp., Monmouth Co. Both incidents involved reactionary devices that are being described as soda bottles (12 oz. to 2 liters) containing a strong acid or base, aluminum foil inside the container, and tape securing the bottle cap. The substances inside these bottles create a chemical reaction, which results in pressure building in the bottle. Eventually, these containers explode creating a risk to law enforcement officers and first responders. First responders should keep a distance of at least 100 feet from any of these devices as a precautionary measure.
(U//FOUO) The NJ ROIC Analysis Element has no information regarding any specific, credible threat to New Jersey or the U.S. Homeland at this time. Due to an active, federal counterterror investigation, the NJ ROIC Analysis Element produced this overview of potential targets of terrorist activity and the tactics, techniques, and procedures that extremists may use. It was produced with information from FBI and DHS, based on analysis of police investigations, thwarted plots, and past terrorist attacks.
In December 2007, the Fairfield (New Jersey) Police Department (FPD) observed a bus, registered in Florida, at a local gas station, where the driver was pumping diesel fuel through an open window into the bus. Further investigation revealed that the driver had removed the right-side seats to accommodate eighteen 55-gallon plastic drums, which he filled with approximately 300 gallons of diesel fuel before FPD impounded the bus. There were numerous equipment violations observed and the driver was issued summonses as a result. The drums were not secured and diesel fuel apparently leaked during the fueling process.
FOUO/LES Fusion Center intelligence briefs from the New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center, Boston Regional Intelligence Center, Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center, and Washington D.C. FireWatch warning of white powder letter incidents from 2008-2010.
This book is a compilation of various gang intelligence information from various sources including detective and police officer files, primarily confiscated from arrested and/or incarcerated individual gang notes and drawings. Additional material was obtained from other law enforcement agencies’ publications and presentations used for internal officer training, as well as from various other gang publications and internet sources. Six major New York City gangs are presented in this book: the Bloods, the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, the Netas, the Crips, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), and the Mexican Gangs. Sections within this book include the origin and history of the gang, its structure, rules and regulations, oaths and pledges, symbols and emblems, coded language and hand signals, clothing, tattoos and graffiti. It is our hope that an officer’s knowledge of gang characteristics will assist in combating gang-motivated crimes and reduce the propensity for violence towards the law enforcement community and innocent citizens.
Domestic terrorist groups have historically threatened, and in some cases have executed contamination of drinking water systems. Such groups are likely to continue targeting the Water Sector in the future. These groups include, but are not limited to, hate groups, eco-terrorists, antigovernment and religiously motivated groups. International terrorist groups, specifically Islamic extremists such as al Qaeda, have shown interest in contaminating US drinking water.
The Palestinian statehood issue remains a popular and unifying cause throughout the Arab and Islamic world, and a high agenda item for militant jihadists. HAMAS is one of the principal terrorist groups involved in this conflict and uses violence in the form of terrorism to further its cause. The organization has long been designated by the US Department of State as a terrorist group. According to the State Department’s 2007 “Country Reports on Terrorism,” HAMAS receives funding from Iran, sympathetic supporters in Arab countries, and from the Palestinian diaspora around the world, including in the United States.
On April 16, 2008, authorities arrested Roger Von Bergendorff for possession of the deadly biological toxin ricin after searches of three storage lockers he rented in Utah revealed traces of ricin, laboratory equipment, chemicals, and castor beans (the ingredient from which ricin is derived), as well as a drawing of an injection device. When Bergendorff fell critically ill in February in a Las Vegas hotel room, authorities discovered vials containing enough ricin to kill more than 500 people.
# The arrest May 20 of four men accused of plotting to bomb a Bronx synagogue and shoot missiles at military planes in New York reminds us that homegrown extremists pose a serious and persistent threat to the United States.
# Homegrown plots have included the conspiracy against soldiers at Fort Dix, as well as plots targeting military infrastructure or Jewish institutions.