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Having some experience in counter-terrorism, as I read through the updated introduction to the latest edition of "Surveillance Countermeasures" I was struck by how applicable this instruction is to the emergent new-age threat we face. It is an unfortunate reality, but the realists among us understand that we have entered a dangerous stage in our society wherein we are not far from a relatively chaotic time to include a wide proliferation of suicide vest and vehicle bombing attacks in the streets of the US, Canada, and Europe.
Based on terrorist doctrine and the post-event examination of terrorist operations, we know that two of the primary stages in the terrorist operational process are "Intelligence and Surveillance" and "Pre-attack Surveillance and Planning". Target surveillance activity is arguably the most important portion of the terrorist attack cycle. This also represents the periods during which terrorist operatives are exposed and at their greatest risk of detection. Regardless of the internet research resources and technical stand-off surveillance capabilities, actual "eyes-on" surveillance remains a critical aspect of pre-operational planning, and places terrorist operatives in their most vulnerable positions. Therefore, the identification of terrorist surveillance efforts prior to final mission execution is the most effective means of threat detection and neutralization. Terrorist operatives and other such bad actors who conduct physical surveillance to facilitate their activities, however, operate under the hope and assumption that they are operating against unwitting, unaware, and non-surveillance conscious targets. Therefore, an awareness of the threat and the ability to perform surveillance detection and anti-surveillance are critical to countering these adversarial efforts.
This book demonstrates the techniques to effectively counter the most sophisticated physical surveillance methods employed by traditional adversaries. Interestingly, the most notorious terrorist training manual that is widely available over the internet has a chapter that deals largely with the methods of physical surveillance that are a regurgitation of the time-proven techniques that are common to the world's most sophisticated practitioners of surveillance. Coincidentally, "Surveillance Countermeasures" details exacting and effective methods to counter each of the specific methods endorsed in this and other known terrorist training resources.
I do not want to be misleading by implying that this book is written specifically to address the terrorist threat. However, it is widely applicable to the terrorist threat and the myriad criminal enterprises that endeavor to develop the information necessary to effectively execute violent attacks and assassinations as a means to achieve their operational objectives. And of course, it remains an unparalleled resource for investigators and counter-espionage professionals, as well as those responsible for VIP or critical asset protection.
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