(U//FOUO) Colorado Information Analysis Center Chemical Sector Signs of Terrorism

Colorado Information Analysis Center Infrastructure Protection

  • CIAC Report 10-430
  • For Official Use Only
  • December 10, 2010


Signs of Terrorism: Chemical Sector

Terrorist operations are most likely to be disrupted during the extensive planning phase. You can help prevent terrorism and other types of crime by watching for these signs of terrorism.

1. Surveillance- Someone recording or monitoring activities and processes of a chemical facility including cameras, security personnel, and shipping and receiving areas.

  • In November 2010, the CIAC received reports of suspicious activity at a chemical facility involving individuals taking pictures of its operations.

2. Elicitation- People or organizations attempting to gain inappropriate information from chemical facilities including number of security guards and their shifts, types and concentrations of chemicals produced, and shipping and receiving schedules.

  • In August 2010, the CIAC received reports of individuals calling a chemical facility to inquire about certain chemicals and how to acquire them.

3. Tests of Security- Any attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches, attempts to penetrate physical security barriers, or monitor procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses.

  • In 2008, the CIAC received reports of individuals breaking into a chemical facility by breaking card readers and windows. Once inside, the individuals turned off power to two different parts of the facility-showing that they were familiar with it and possibly indicating that these individuals had previously done surveillance on the facility. Nothing from the chemical facility was stolen, indicating that the individuals likely were testing security and response time and capability instead of simply intending to steal items from the facility.

4. Supplies- Attempting to purchase or steal items from chemical facilities or chemicals from other facilities that could be used to make explosives or biological agents.

  • In 2009 the CIAC received reports of an individual making two purchases of large quantities of the same chemical at different times on the same day from a retail facility. The individual paid with a credit card but used a fictitious name. The quantities of chemicals the individual purchased is out of the ordinary for someone not purchasing it for a chemical facility.
  • In 2008 the CIAC received reports of an individual posing as a chemical company in Colorado in order to purchase chemicals from a Rhode Island chemical facility.

5. Impersonation- Attempting to access a chemical facility by impersonating security guards, inspections personnel, or drivers; or acquiring jobs in these fields in order to gather information about the facility that can be used to compromise it later.

Suspicious Behavior

  • Have any customers attempted to purchase unusual or large quantities of products?
  • Have any customers displayed nervous or evasive behavior when purchasing or attempting to purchase products?
  • Is the customer a regular customer, is this the first time he/she has visited your store?
  • Did the customer give evasive responses when questioned?
  • Did the customer lack the knowledge of the product’s proper use?
  • Did the customer refuse to purchase a substitute product?
  • Did the customer insist on in-store pick up rather than delivery to a specific address?
  • Did the customer insist on cash payments?
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