Category: Case Histories

ISDACenter.Org Vehicle Ambush In Mexico and Surveillance Detection

Data says 65% of attacks occur while in or near a vehicle. How much of your time do you spend on training that mitigates the massive risk of vehicle attacks?

For close to 50 years, we have preached the need for surveillance detection, situation awareness, and armored vehicles. We are still talking about incidents resulting from a lack of surveillance detection, situational awareness, and armored vehicles.

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Ambush eBook

ambush ebook

Throughout the years there were vehicle attacks that change the way we train. They received the attention of the security community and the businesses they…

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U.S. abduction Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai

After dawn prayers Oct. 5, 2013, Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, a wanted al-Qaeda terrorism suspect, returned to his family’s home in Tripoli, Libya.

He stopped his car in front of the house, nestled in an affluent neighborhood in the coastal capital city. It was 6:38 a.m. and still dark.

A white van trailing Ruqai pulled alongside his car. Then at least three men, with guns drawn, jumped out of the van as another car blocked Ruqai’s escape and a third vehicle idled down the street.

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When vehicle violence occurs, the Security Driver needs to have all three side of the ”Security Driver Triangle” working for them. However, there have been scenarios where two sides of the triangle (The Driver and the Vehicle) overcame weakness in the third side (The Environment), none better than the 1995 motorcade attack on Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.

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The recent video of a Secret Service Agent driving the Presidential Limo in reverse around Lime Rock Race Track took the social media by storm. According to some reports the video received 40 Million views. The majority of those viewing the video were under the impression that the video was real, but actually, it was an excellent animation. Truth be told, the first time I looked at it, I thought it was real.

The video did create many questions concerning the skills needed to drive in reverse.

So for those working in the Secure Transportation profession; some thoughts on backing up.

Here are some quick points on backing up when the objective is to escape the Kill Zone

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The Boulis Ambush


On Feb. 6, 2001, Gus Boulis left his offices on Southeast 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale about 9:30 p.m. and headed down Miami Road, a shortcut to Federal Highway on his way home to Hollywood.

As he was driving down Miami Road a car stopped in front of him, blocking his way. A vehicle coming from the other direction pulled up next to Boulis.  A passenger sitting in the back seat fired on him with a semi-automatic weapon.

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On the morning of May 26, 1992, Geschke was kidnapped at gunpoint from the Adobe parking lot in Mountain View California by two men as he arrived for work. “The two men called him to their car to ask him a question, then at gunpoint took him away and held him hostage for four days.

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Although very old the Hunt assassination is an example of an armored vehicle that was not properly armored. The scenario:

On February 15, 1984 Leamon Hunt was assassinated at the entrance of his home. His car was an armored Alfa Romeo, and was fol­lowed by a Fiat 128. Mr. Hunt’s home hadhunt1b an electrically operated gate that had to be opened by remote control by the driver.

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Vehicle Attack Video

Although an advertisement for the armored car company Centigon, this is a good and I would imagine expensive video depicting a vehicle attack. Not sure of level of protection and the type of rounds fired etc.

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Counter surveillance that seeks out the attacker’s perspective is the key to good corporate executive protection.

The husband-and-wife team watched Sidney Reso for almost thirty days before they attacked. Sitting in a van parked down the street from Reso’s suburban New Jersey house, the couple documented the Exxon executive’s daily routine, learning his habits and identifying his vulnerabilities. Then, one morning, the couple abducted Reso in his driveway as he retrieved his newspaper

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The Herrhausen Incident

It has been more than 20 years since the assassination of Alfred Herrhausen. The roadside bomb that killed Herrhausen changed the way protection was looked at. In the late 80’s surveillance detection had become part of the protection plan but it was not given the attention that was needed.

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Another CLASSIC Assassination


Got an email from old friend Skip Carroll (very old friend), Skip has spent time in Yemen, and Iraq. The email was about the recent assassination of a Yemeni security chief that worked at the US Embassy in Sanna. What Skip pointed out was the hit was another CLASSIC Assassination – The time & place was predictable, at the home, in the morning, on the way to work, and of course prior to the assassination neighbors noticed strangers in the street.

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The Italian Consul, Guido De Sanctis has been nice enough demonstrate, again, why armored vehicles are a good thing. I’ll wait until we can get more information about the attack – but look at where the rounds hit the side windows – does that create questions?

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Exxon Executive – Sidney Reso


On April 29th, 1992, the president of Exxon International Sidney Reso left his home for his usual trip to work. He made the decision to drive himself to work and not to have a driver pick him up for his daily morning trip to work. He stopped his car at the end of his 250-foot driveway to retrieve the newspaper. When he got out, a white van pulled in front of his car. A man with a ski mask covering his face stepped in front of him and forced him into the van. According to the kidnapper, once in the van Mr. Reso was accidentally shot in the arm.

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A Tale of Two Attacks

Just how important is it for a Protective Detail Leader or Security Manager to be able to recognize the indicators and warnings associated with various threats and understand the capabilities of potential attackers? The answers can be found by taking a closer look at two recent attacks.

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