By ISDA Member Tom Taylor
“Observation occurs along the route, but eﬀective response is the destination.” – Just 2 Seconds, Chapter 5: SEE (Suspects Exist Everywhere).
In the attached video, a young man shows the steps to gatecrash the hottest show in town with a huge level of security. He gathers intelligence on the event and finds that the Bozo driver of one of the VIPs has posted photos of his event passes on social media to show his friends what an important person HE is. He utilizes technology to print a good looking “all access” pass, he uses a prop (earpiece), he dresses the part, he forms a plan with responses to any potential questions, he scouts the venue, he surveils the VIP gate, “joins” an entourage, enters the venue, scouts the backstage areas, finds the VIP location, “joins” the VIP’s entourage, and crashes the event, within arm’s reach of the VIP and without once being screened for weapons. After the event, he again “joins” an entourage and accesses the VIP’s dressing room. At this posting, the video has 916,582 views, is #49 on trending, has generated 1,664 comments, and has over 21,000 likes.
In our book “Just 2 Seconds“, chapter five deals with the essential lesson of SEE: “In every environment, identify and assess the best suspects. They are always there.” We describe nine adversary behaviors that we commonly catch. In this case, the gate crasher exhibits three behavioral categories:
(1) The Fashion Plate: “The Fashion Plate wears unusual clothes. Or he might wear clothes in an unusual manner, or wear clothes inappropriate to the weather or situation. The classic Fashion Plate is the person wearing an oversized heavy coat on a warm day.” In this case, the gatecrasher wears a suit and earpiece, as though he is part of a security detail or event coordinator, and wears a fake credential that stands up to close scrutiny. He is playing a role, not who he actually is, but who he wants those protectors he will pass think he is. “These are not the Droids we’re looking for.”
(2) The Inspector: “The Inspector displays a high level of interest in protectors, security personnel, and security procedures. When looked at directly, he quickly looks away. The Inspector behaves differently than most bystanders, who tend to be more interested in the show or event, and uninterested in security personnel and procedures.”
(3) The Joiner: “The Joiner attempts to enter restricted areas by trying to make it appear he is with groups or people who are authorized. This person has arrived alone, but pretends to belong with others in order to get closer to the protectee. If passing through an access point, the Joiner is usually the last person in the group; he might gesture or otherwise imply that he is a member of the group without those people observing him do so. In a sense, attackers who pretend to be fans, or who join a receiving line apply a version of this strategy — but the Joiner is more overt and brazen: He wants protectors to think he is authorized to be going where he tries to go.”
Nearly all event credentialing is seriously flawed (no photo of the authorized holder, printed on one side, too small to read, too easily copied, etc, etc, etc). Even worse, those protectors assigned at checkpoints to screen attendees are nearly always not properly briefed or they’re unprepared to stop serious adversaries with a good story or fake credential. Remember the White House gatecrashers? They were stopped and challenged at a Secret Service checkpoint for not being on the guest list, but they were allowed to enter when a senior White House staff person vouched for them. Remember who got blamed? Yep … the agents on the checkpoint. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan later stated, “This is our fault, and our fault alone.”
Protected sites get penetrated all the time. Our agents have often escorted protectees to “high level events” at venues with a poor level of protection. We recently took a few protectees to an event billed as being for “the top one percent of the top one percent,” and yet the security plan and credentialing was painfully flawed “because the VIPs did not want to be hassled.” For those protectors who take our work seriously, and work hard to take our protectees into safe environments, this video is yet another wake-up call about the world in which we live. We praise those protectors who have accepted the high stakes of their craft, understand the risks, know they might be blamed for the actions of others and for events outside their control, accept that they cannot control everything, commit to control everything they can, and know that Time is on their side only if they act outside of time — in the Now.
About the Author
Tom is the co-author of the best-selling and must read book – Just 2 Seconds
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