Wednesday, October 7, 2009
8 Signs of Terrorism
The DHS web site has a press release about the recent trip of Secretary Napolitano to Colorado where she joined Gov. Ritter in unveiling the video “Recognizing 8 Signs of Terrorism” at “the Center for Empowered Living & Learning (The CELL)—a non-profit institution dedicated to addressing the global threat of terrorism”. The release of this 8 minute video has attracted some national attention because it is narrated by John Elway, a Denver football personality (okay he was a major quarterback in the NFL for a number of years) and it was produced with grant money from DHS. Now DHS certainly has reason to publicize efforts to get the public involved in the early detection of terrorist activities. The three terrorist plots ‘detected’ in September remind us that there are still enemies that would like to attack our homeland. Teaching people what types of behavior might be indicators of preparations for a terrorist attack so that they can report that type of observed behavior to the appropriate authorities can certainly aid in the early detection of an attempted terrorist attack. My concern with this bit of news, however, is that it makes a little bit too much of the effort in Colorado without acknowledging that a number of other agencies have produced similar efforts. For example, the State of Arizona and the City of Phoenix produced a similar video (without as high a profile talking head as John Elway) earlier this year. Last year I reported on two separate “7 Signs of Terrorism” videos produced by the Michigan State Police and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. As I mentioned in that earlier blog, I am certainly a firm believer in counter-surveillance operations to detect the early stages of a terrorist attack. The earlier these things can be detected the easier they are to stop before anyone gets hurt. Getting the public involved is certainly one way to achieve early detection. Just don’t make it look like John Elway and company are leading the way here.