FBI Terrorism Quick Reference Card

The FBI’s Terrorism Quick Reference Card

  • 9 pages
  • Law Enforcement Sensitive
  • November 23, 2005


The FBI’s Terrorism Quick Reference Card

First responding officers should be aware of suspicious factors that may indicate a possible terrorist threat. These factors should be considered collectively in assessing a possible threat. This quick reference guide is intended to provide practical information for line officers but may not encompass every threat or circumstance. State and local law enforcement may contact their local FBI field office or resident agency for additional assistance.

1) Possible Suicide Bomber Indicators -A.L.E.R.T.

A. Alone and nervous.

B. Loose and/or bulky clothing (may not fit weather conditions).

C. Exposed wires (possibly through sleeve).

D. Rigid mid-section (explosive device or may be carrying a rifle).

E. Tightened hands (may hold detonation device).

2) Passport History

A. Recent travel overseas to countries that sponsor terrorism.

B. Multiple passports with different countries/names (caution: suspect may have dual citizenship).

C. Altered passport numbers or photo substitutions; pages have been removed.

3) Other Identification -Suspicious Characteristics

A. No current or fixed address; fraudulent/altered: Social Security cards, visas, licenses, etc.; multiple ID’s with names spelled differently.

B. International drivers ID:

1. There are no international or UN drivers’ licenses -they are called permits.

2. Official international drivers’ permits are valid for one year from entry into the U.S., they are paper-gray in color, not laminated, and are only valid for foreign nationals to operate in the U.S.

4) Employment/School/Training

A. No obvious signs of employment.

B. Possess student visa but not English proficient.

C. An indication of military type training in weapons or self-defense.

5) Unusual Items In Vehicles/Residences

A. Training manuals; flight, scuba, explosive, military, or extremist literature.

B. Blueprints (subject may have no affiliation to architecture).

C. Photographs/diagrams of specific high profile targets or infrastructures; to include entrances/exits of buildings, bridges, power/water plants, routes, security cameras, subway/sewer, and underground systems.

D. Photos/pictures of known terrorists.

E. Numerous prepaid calling cards and/or cell phones.

F. Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) unit

G. Multiple hotel receipts

H. Financial records indicating overseas wire transfers

I. Rental vehicles (cash transactions on receipts; living locally but renting)

6) Potential Props

A. Baby stroller or shopping cart.

B. Suspicious bag/backpack, golf bag.

C. Bulky vest or belt.

7) Hotel/Motel Visits

A. Unusual requests, such as:

1. Refusal of maid service.

2. Asking for a specific view of bridges, airports, military/government installation (for observational purposes).

3. Electronic surveillance equipment in room

B. Suspicious or unusual items left behind.

C. Use of lobby or other pay phone instead of room phone.

Recruitment Techniques

CAUTION: The following factors, which may constitute activity protected by the United States Constitution, should only be considered in the context of other suspicious activity and not be the sole basis of law enforcement action.

A. Public demonstrations and rallies.

B. Information about new groups forming.

C. Posters, fliers, and underground publications.

9) Thefts, Purchases, Or Discovery Of:

A. Weapons/explosive materials.

B. Camera/surveillance equipment.

C. Vehicles (to include rentals -fraudulent name; or failure to return vehicle).

D. Radios: Short wave, two-way and scanners.

E. Identity documents (State IDs, passports etc.)

F. Unauthorized uniforms

II. Indicators and Detection of Terrorist Explosive/Weapons/CBN Attack

1. Possible Explosive Attack Indicators

• Theft of commercial-grade explosives, chemical substances, blasting caps.

• Large amounts of high-nitrate fertilizer sales to nonagricultural purchasers, or abnormally large amounts (compared with previous sales) to bona fide agricultural purchasers.

• Large theft or sales of chemicals which, when combined, create ingredients for explosives (fuel oil, nitrates).

• Theft or abnormal sales of containers (for example, propane bottles) or possible vehicles (trucks or cargo vans) in combination with other indicators.

• Reports of explosions where not authorized.

• Seizures of improvised explosive devices or materials.

2. Possible Weapons Attack Indicators

• Theft or unusual sales of large numbers of semi-automatic weapons, especially those which are known to be readily converted to fully- automatic.

• Theft or unusual sales of military-grade weapons ammunition.

• Reports of automatic weapons firing.

• Seizures of modified weapons or equipment used to modify weapons (especially silencers).

• Theft, sales, or seizure of night vision or thermal imaging equipment when combined with other indicators.

• Theft, loss, seizure, or recovery of large amounts of cash by groups advocating violence against the government, military, or similar targets.

3. Possible Chemical/Biological/Nuclear Indicators:

Sales or theft of large quantities of baby formula, or an unexplained shortage in an area. (Baby formula is used to grow certain specific cultures.)

• Break-in or tampering with equipment at water treatment facilities or food processing facilities or warehouses.

• Theft or solicitation for sales of live agents, toxins, or diseases from medical supply companies or testing and experimentation facilities.

• Multiple cases of unexplained human or animal deaths.

• Sales to non-agricultural users or thefts of agricultural sprayers, or crop-dusting aircraft, foggers, river craft or other dispensing systems.

• Inappropriate inquiries regarding local chemical/biological/nuclear sales, storage, or transportation points and facilities.

• Inappropriate inquiries regarding heating and ventilation systems for buildings or facilities by persons not associated with service agencies

III. Surveillance, Targeting, and Attack Indicators and Countermeasures

A. Surveillance

According to the Department of Homeland Security, nearly every major terrorist attack has been preceded by a thorough surveillance of the

targeted facility. Surveillance operations have certain characteristics that are particular to pre-operational activity. The degree of expertise used in the execution of the operation will increase or decrease the likelihood of detection. Some of these characteristics are:

• Suspicious persons or vehicles being observed in the same location on multiple occasions, including those posing as panhandlers, vendors, or others not previously seen in the area.

• Suspicious persons sitting in a parked car for an extended period of time for no apparent reason.

Personnel observed near a potential target using or carrying video, still camera, or other observation equipment, especially when coupled with high magnification lenses.

• Suspicious persons showing an interest in or photographing security systems and positions.

• Personnel observed with facility maps and/or photographs, or diagrams with specific buildings or facilities highlighted; or with notes regarding

infrastructure, or listing of certain key personnel.

• Suspicious persons drawing pictures or taking notes in a non-tourist or other area not normally known to have

such activity.

• Personnel possessing or observed using night vision or thermal devices near the potential target area

• Personnel observed parked near, standing near, or loitering near the same vicinity over several days, with no apparent reasonable explanation.

• A noted pattern or series of false alarms requiring law enforcement or emergency services response; individuals noticeably observing

security procedures and responses or questioning security or facility personnel.

• Persons not fitting into the surrounding environment, such as wearing improper attire for the location. • Theft of official identification (ID)

cards (including family members, retirees), or government official license plates.

• Non-government persons in possession of government official ID cards.

• Recent damage to potential target perimeter security (breaches in the fenceline).

Computer hackers attempting to access sites with personal information, maps, or other data useful to compiling a target information packet.

• Persons exhibiting unusual behavior such as staring or quickly looking away from individuals or vehicles as they enter or leave designated

facilities or parking areas.

• A blank facial expression in an individual may be indicative of someone concentrating on something not related to what they appear to be doing.

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