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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

John Doe to be Protected: 7 Signs to Watch for Terror Activity

[Update] A huge Thank You to The Washington Times, Fishwrap for the mention/link in their latest article about the John Doe Amendment. Welcome Fishwrap readers.

Finally. A quick thank you to all the bloggers and radio shows, big and small, that dug in and kept the pressure on to keep John Doe Protected.

It has been a fight and an important one.

We saw the Democrats try to kill it, we saw "we the people" stand up and speak out loudly and we continued to update.

We also saw The Washington Times acknowledge how blogs have affected this debate.

Some Republican aides are attributing the mounting pressure to support the provision to press reports and the blogosphere, where bloggers turned bloggyists are posting phone numbers of Democrat congressional leaders and urging readers to call in with their support.

The blogs have been a terrific vehicle for expressing public outrage over Democratic attempts to kill this provision, said a spokesman for Mr. King.

I have personally seen, via my sitemeter,(details) unbelievable amounts of hits from .gov and and, IP addresses, specifically visiting my own John Doe pieces. They were watching, they understood. We were heard and it is gratifying.

Hundreds of others did too.


The GOOD NEWS. John Doe is to be protected.

WASHINGTON — After nearly a week of intense, behind-the-scenes wrangling, congressional negotiators late Tuesday agreed to include in the pending Sept. 11 security bill sweeping liability protections for citizens who report suspicious activity they fear might be linked to terrorism.

The provision is meant to address the so-called "Flying Imams" case, wherein six Muslim clerics sued passengers aboard a Northwest flight in March who reported them to authorities, leading to their detention. The clerics were cleared but their lawsuit, many lawmakers feared, would discourage future vigilance among the flying public.

The Sept. 11 bill is a top Democratic priority and Republicans fought hard to include the passenger immunity protection, creating common cause with Connecticut Independent Joe Lieberman, chairman of the conference committee knitting together the House and Senate bills designed to implement unfulfilled security recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission.

The bill was expected to swiftly pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by President Bush.

House Democrats, led by Mississippi's Bennie Thompson, sought changes in the immunity language but ultimately were overwhelmed by the Lieberman-GOP coalition on the conference committee.

A joint statement on the inclusion of the John Doe Protections language for terrorism tipsters by House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security Peter King, R-N.Y., follows.

"This is a huge win — a hard-fought victory for House Republicans and, more importantly, for the American people," King said.

"In a post-9/11 reality, vigilance is essential to security. Despite the Democratic opposition to this important homeland security measure, I’m thrilled to announce that common sense has prevailed and heroic Americans who report suspicious activity will be protected from frivolous lawsuits. The American people were heard and our country is safer because of it."

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(Continued from above)

Michelle Malkin reminds us of the previous vote by showing the last roll call on who voted for and who voted against this previously as well as pointing out The Center for Security Policy's statement on this.

(Washington, D.C.): The Center for Security Policy is gratified that its efforts, those of innumerable bloggers, radio talk show hosts and other public-minded citizens translated into an important legislative victory late last night. Thanks to the leadership of Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, the chairman and ranking minority member, respectively, of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and especially that of Rep. Pete King, Sen. Collins' counterpart on the House Homeland Security Committee, legislation along the lines of that adopted by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives last May at Rep. King's initiative will shortly become law.

The language will provide protection against the sorts of harassment lawsuits filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) after several unidentified individuals reported six Muslim imams engaged in suspicious – and frightening – behavior prior to boarding a USAir flight in November 2006. CAIR has been identified as a front organization for the Muslim Brotherhood and is an un-indicted co-conspirator in an alleged terrorism-financing plot.

Hot Air shows us another reason why this has been so important to get it done quickly. brings us some recent examples of these "dry runs":

The bulletin says initial investigation has not linked the men and women carrying the suspicious items to any terrorist or criminal organizations. The TSA adds that most of the explanations given by passengers caught with subsequently seized items have been suspicious in themselves and some are still under investigation.

The four seizures are described as follows:

• San Diego, July 7. A U.S. person - either a citizen or a foreigner legally here - checked baggage containing two ice packs covered in duct tape. The ice packs had clay inside them rather than the normal blue gel.

• Milwaukee, June 4. A U.S. person's carry-on baggage contained wire coil wrapped around a possible initiator, an electrical switch, batteries, three tubes and two blocks of cheese. The bulletin said block cheese has a consistency similar to some explosives.

• Houston, Nov. 8, 2006. A U.S. person's checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a 9-volt battery, wires, a block of brown clay-like minerals and pipes.

• Baltimore, Sept. 16, 2006. A couple's checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a block of processed cheese taped to another plastic bag holding a cellular phone charger.

It is important that we, the average American citizen, keep our eyes open.

Not racial profiling, nor religious profiling, but BEHAVIORAL profiling.

In this vein, let me bring you something I periodically remind you of and that is the 7 signs to watch for terror activity: (This is one states version, but it applies to all)

There is a file showing the 7 signs to watch for terror activity, it is a word file and everyone should read it. Please note #6 listed below which deals directly with "dry runs".

1. Surveillance

If there is a specific target that terrorists have chosen, that target area will be most likely be observed during the planning phase of the operation. They do this in order to determine the strengths, weaknesses, and number of personnel that may respond to an incident. Routes to and from the target are usually established during the surveillance phase. Therefore, it is important to take note of such things as someone recording or monitoring activities, drawing diagrams or annotating on maps, the use of vision-enhancing devices, having in one's possession floor plans or blue prints of places such as high-tech firms, financial institutions, or Government / military facilities. Any of these surveillance-type acts MAY be an indicator that something just is not right. Nothing is too menial and should not be discarded as such.

2. Elicitation

The second sign or signal is elicitation. What this means is anyone attempting to gain information about a place, person, or operation. An example is someone attempting to gain knowledge about a critical infrastructure like a power plant, water reservoir, or a maritime port. Terrorists may attempt to research bridge and tunnel usage, make unusual inquiries concerning shipments, or inquire as to how a military base operates. They may also attempt to place "key" people in sensitive work locations.

3. Tests of Security

Tests of Security are another area in which terrorists would attempt to gather data. This is usually conducted by driving by the target, moving into sensitive areas and observing security or law enforcement response. They would be interested in the time in which it takes to respond to an incident or the routes taken to a specific location. They may also try to penetrate physical security barriers or procedures in order to assess strengths and Weaknesses. They often gain legitimate employment at key locations in order to monitor day-to-day activities. In any event, they may try to gain this knowledge in order to make their mission or scheme more effective.

4. Acquiring Supplies

Another area to be cognizant of is anyone acquiring supplies. It may be a case where someone is purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, or ammunition. It could also be someone storing harmful chemicals or chemical equipment. Terrorists would also find it useful to have in their possession law enforcement equipment and identification, military uniforms and decals, as well as flight passes, badges or even flight manuals. If they can't find the opportunity to steal these types of things, they may try to photocopy ID's, attempt to make passports or other forms of identification by counterfeiting. Possessing any of these would make it easier for one to gain entrance into secured or usually prohibited areas.

5. Suspicious People Who Don't Belong

A fifth pre-incident indicator is observing suspicious people who just "don't belong." This does not mean we should profile individuals but what it does mean is that we should profile behaviors. This includes suspicious border crossings and stowaways aboard a ship or people jumping ship in a port. It may mean having someone in a workplace, building, neighborhood, or business establishment that does not fit in because of their demeanor, their language usage or unusual questions they are asking. You, as an officer, may respond to a complaint that may appear to be a routine investigation but results in something much bigger in scope.

6. Dry Runs

Another sign to watch for is "dry runs." Before execution of the final operation or plan, a practice session will be run to work out the flaws and unanticipated problems. A dry run may very well be the heart of a planning stage of a terrorist act. If you find someone monitoring a police radio frequency and recording emergency response times, you may very well be observing a "dry run." Another element of this activity could include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow. It is during this stage that it is actually our best chance to intercept and stop an attack. Multiple dry runs are normally conducted at or near the target area.

7. Deploying Assets / Getting Into Position

The seventh and final sign or signal to look for is someone deploying assets or getting into position. This is a person's last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs.

It is also important to remember that pre-incident indicators may come months or even years apart. Therefore, it is extremely important to document every fragment of information, no matter how insignificant it may appear, and forward this information.

Suspicious activity should be reported to the FBI.

Reporting Crime
To report a violation of U.S. federal law or provide a possible tip in a criminal or counterterrorism investigation, use our electronic FBI Tips and Public Leads form. Or contact your local FBI field office or closest international office. To report suspected espionage activity, see our Counterintelligence webpage.

Please use common sense when reporting suspicious activity, do not let paranoia reign, but keep your eyes open because it is up to us as well as the authorities to protect our country.

Please remember it was an average citizen that helped tip off the authorities to stop the Fort Dix Terror Plot... a video store employee.

A reminder about supporing our troops overseas, who protect us abroad while we are protecting ourselves here, comes from Debbie at Right Truth with "If you really want to support the troops", so click it and find out ways to help our men and women in the field.

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Better keep two eyes on China from Right Truth...