Here are Homeland Security’s Top 5 Priorities for Suspicious Activity Reporting This Season

A commercial released in December 2012 advises travelers to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious activity.

Public Intelligence

A document issued last month by the Department of Homeland Security identifies priorities for the collection of suspicious activity reports from local communities around the U.S.  The document describes “topics of interest” identified by DHS Intelligence and Analysis (DHS/I&A) analysts as priorities for the Winter 2013 period that should be utilized by “law enforcement, first responders, and other homeland security professionals” to improve their reporting of suspicious activity.  The topics of interest include examples of suspicious activities related to each topical area. They are also accompanied by several tracking numbers identifying the activities within DHS/I&A’s system of Standing Intelligence Needs which “form the foundation for information collection activities within the Department and provide other Intelligence Community (IC) and Homeland Security Enterprise members the ability to focus their collection, analytic, and reporting assets in support of the homeland security mission.”  These numbers are often found in DHS and fusion center bulletins indicating a reported activity’s relation to standing intelligence needs determined by DHS/I&A.  The topics are not in order of importance and DHS/I&A reminds the reader that previous topics “remain relevant” and reports should still be submitted on those issues.

  • Threats to religious or cultural facilities including “verbal ortelephonic threats of violence” or “property damage, including vandalism or arson”.
  • Suspicious activities or incidents associated with state, local, tribal, territorial, or private sector computer networks and Web sites including “denial of service (DoS) attacks against Web sites”, “web page defacement” and “suspicious e-mails that install malware on the network”.
  • Suspicious activities or incidents associated with mass gatherings, and special events including “breaches or attempted intrusions at event locations or related venues”, suspicious “inquiries about security protocols for events or VIPs” and “incidents of suspicious acquisition of explosiveprecursor materials”.
  • Suspicious activities, queries, theft, sabotage, tampering, or vandalism within the transportation sector—including mass transit, aviation, maritime, ground and surface, rail, and pipeline systems including “unusual questions about routes, capacities, peak travel time, training, and security”.
  • Efforts to artfully conceal improvised explosive devices in innocuous items, such as satchels, backpacks, suitcases, jars, bottles, cans, shoes, clothing, parcels, or toys including “unsolicited or unusual parcels delivered from unfamiliar overseas addresses noting the identification of the sender and recipient and whether the recipient has reported multiple suspicious parcels in recent weeks or months.

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