security

Beware The Honey Trap

As security practitioners, we are trained to be aware of our surroundings at all times while on the job. Well trained individuals should always be on guard for threats against our clients or our protected properties, but what happens when we, ourselves, become the target?

At the beginning of April it was discovered that the head of Disney’s regional security for Europe the Middle East and Africa fell victim to a “honey trap” scam. For those unfamiliar with a honey trap, it is essentially a scam in which a con artist will entice a subject with something that is desirable, gain their trust and either convince them to forfeit their valuables or obtain them by force or coercion.

Everyone has weaknesses, and, unfortunately, for Disney Security Chief Paul Kelly, that weakness appears to be women. Sources report that Mr. Kelly, while out at a bar, was approached by a female, slipped a drug and led back up to his room. After arriving at the room the drugs took effect and Mr. Kelly was rendered unconscious for several hours and later treated in hospital with potentially life threatening effects.

Read more here

As security practitioners, law enforcement officers or government employees, we may be entrusted with very sensitive information. It is crucial that we remain aware at all times; not just during our formal working hours. Be ever cognizant for something that may seem too good to be true.

As banal as it may seem, make an effort to truly understand yourself and know your weaknesses. The better we understand what might entice us, the more difficult it will be for someone to employ a honey trap against us.

There are general precautions and multiple considerations when preparing for such an eventuality:

  • Don’t follow that girl. As much of this piece is dedicated to the seduction honey trap, women who may seem especially interested in you or your profession should be treated with extreme caution.
  • Take Favors From No One. Someone who seems overly eager to help you could have an ulterior motive. By seemingly ‘hooking you up’ they may pressure you to reciprocate, often times using guilt or fear as a motivator.
  • Do your Due Diligence: Whenever possible, attempt to find information about someone who is trying to entice you. A conspicuous absence from the cybersphere, or reluctance to give information about themselves, might indicate a false identity or someone who does not wish to be identified.

These are but a few considerations. In the case of social settings such as Mr. Kelly found himself in, consider why an attractive woman might seem randomly interested in you. All of us men like to believe it’s because of our devastating good looks and overabundance of charisma, but step back from yourself and look around.

Observe the room with a critical eye and consider:

  • Are there many unattached men or women present?
  • Out of the apparently eligible men, why might this woman be interested in me?
  • Is her demeanor and dress appropriate for the setting?
  • Is there anyone present in the room that is taking an interest in our conversation/interaction?

Take special note of her behavior and demeanor during the exchange and consider:

  • Does she seem overly interested in your work or professional life?
  • Is she suggesting isolation? I.E. going up to her room, your room, or somewhere else private?
  • Does she seem nervous?
  • Is she attempting to make suggestive physical contact such as touching the knee, playing with your hair etc?
  • Be especially cognizant of someone manipulating your drinks. Do not leave a drink unattended and be aware of anyone attempting to slip some type of drug.

There are a myriad of different techniques women might employ to seduce someone and gain their trust. The ultimate goal is usually isolation. Once isolated, it will be that much easier to spring whatever trap they have planned.

Some honey traps are not a simple one night trick but may span considerable time. Foreign intelligence services have long employed the honey trap in order to develop extensive relationships and cultivate valuable intelligence. There have been multiple incidents of foreign operatives using honey traps. Much of the time, these types are cultivated slowly and the victim believes the motives of the other person are genuine. These types of traps are very difficult to counter. Read more about that here.

Honey traps are an effective means of manipulation and fraud. The fraudster need only determine one’s weakness and exploit it. As security, law enforcement or government employees we are especially vulnerable to this type of exploitation. It is incumbent upon all of us to know ourselves, our weaknesses and what someone may have to gain by seducing us. Falling prey will not only compromise us as an individual, but will negatively impact our clients, our organizations and our businesses.

Advertisements

Ferguson – A Security Operator’s Perspective

A good friend and colleague of mine participated in a security detail during the Ferguson and St Louis riots recently. I asked him to write about his experiences in the hope that his boots-on-the-ground insights would be useful to all of us in future incidents. 

I was not disappointed. 

I believe his experience there will be useful to security operators in the future and I am happy to share his report.

By Sarge Gish, CPS

“The name Columbine is now synonymous with all school shootings just as the name Ferguson will now be associated with all civil disorder and protests”

I was asked to write an after- action report about my time in Ferguson for one of my friends who has a security blog. I felt time was on my side, since I had another detail to work shortly afterwards and the holidays were just around the corner. Little did I realize that Ferguson would be the beginning of a national period of social unrest in the country. Given the lack of moral responsibility among civilians to confront crime, resulting in destruction and mayhem, in many areas of the country the veneer of civilized behavior has been rubbed off. Unfortunately, from my point of view, I predict there will be plenty more non-peaceful protests. Currently, there are a lot individuals in this country who feel they can control or change how the rule of law is administered. I am not a Sociologist and do not intend to explain why people feel the way they do. Instead, I’ll stick with the elements of working a media protection detail.

Risk & Threat Assessment:

Being called upon to work an armed site security detail for a national security firm in St Louis the week heading into the Darren Wilson Grand Jury indictment, I had no idea what to expect. As everyone knows there were two waves of protests in the town of Ferguson and the city of St Louis.

I will refer both incidents as round 1 (Aug. & Sept. 2014) and round 2 (Nov. & Dec. 2014).

Not being on the ground for round 1, most of our risk and threat assessments were based off of intelligence from those incidents.

Our job was to evaluate one individual or group in order to make a determination whether or not the protesters had the potential to become violent against the news crews we were protecting. Also, the prevention of unintentional injury and embarrassment to the crews was a priority.

Knowing that there were viable threats in the weeks before the grand jury convened, we were better prepared to mentally plan and coordinate our moves, and equipment to bring.

The building I was securing (a major health insurance provider) was located downtown and under no immediate threat. Our intelligence indicated there was no apparent danger for the personnel there.

I had agreed to work for another security firm that was working directly in Ferguson which was associated with a local company named Triangle Sentry. This company was given the assignment of protecting Al Jazeera America and the Fox News crews.

The company is owned by and employs individuals who are ESI graduates. Being from ESI myself, I instantly recognized how much of a professional organization it is and felt comfortable with them having my back.

Advance:

I had taken the Monday afternoon of November 24th off to try and conduct reconnaissance and build intelligence data. Also, this was the day the announcement of the verdict was to be read. Little did I know that this was the night we would be able to determine a threat assessment for the rest of the week.

There was no one out on the street  in front of the Ferguson Police Department except two protesters. The coffee shop down the street was” business as usual” with the local citizens sitting around talking about the anticipation of a peaceful night and week.

Later in the evening when St Louis prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch was to announce the decision by the grand jury, I decided to leave the downtown area, which was still relatively calm, and go eat out on the main drag of West Florissant.

As the night progressed, you could feel the tension in the air. Within hours after the decision not to indict was made public, I stood on the corner of Chambers and West Florissant and watched a Mobile convenience store get looted. Shortly thereafter, gunfire was erupting up and down the street and stores were starting to burn. I left the area immediately knowing the Walgreen’s store in front of me was going to be the next target.

My advance was done. I had seen the violence that was predicted. It was time to help out the team (Triangle Sentry), which was already protecting the news crews that were already out there.

Mission and role of the Protection Assignment:

The news crews we were attached to had about 4 teams, each consisting of a correspondent, producer, and cameraman. They were constantly on the go, navigated by a higher up who was monitoring scanners, twitter feeds, and cell phones looking for any evidence of contention.

If you’re lucky, you can ride along with them. Otherwise, you need to follow as closely in your own POV and be ready to go.

Once you arrive at the site, you must make sure all your equipment is accessible along with the rest of the crew’s. As with any job associated with security, you must walk a fine line as to what you are allowed to do. Of course, we cannot physically restrain someone or display, threaten, or use our weapons unless it becomes a last resort.

Our job is to protect.

Though you are protecting the whole crew, the cameraman will be your main priority. It is their job to make sure they get the shot for the whole world to see. They are going to go into the middle of crowds of angry protesters to get it.

It is important to be within arm’s reach at all times and have a hand on their back to control their direction and balance.

You must be able to pull them out of situations when harm is prevalent.

Between the two waves of protests a rule called the “Keep Moving “ rule was implemented by the St. Louis County police, which prevented people, including the media, from standing still under threat of arrest. An injunction was issued by a Federal District Judge against the practice. But it was widely used during the 2nd round. It was our job to make sure our crews did not fall into that rule.

Unfortunately, one of the security contractors can testify to this. As I mentioned the importance of close contact with the cameraman, he was just far enough away to get caught up in what I call a police line rush into the crowd. Once taken down, they discovered his armored vest and firearm.

Though he was eventually released, he was initially arrested and spent the night in jail.

Planning and Preparation:

Equipment for this kind of violent civil unrest was crucial and must be in quality shape. It was important that all of us were dressed in civilian clothes to blend in with the protestors. So all concealment was vital.

There was no restriction on the type of firearm we could carry, but I would recommend a lighter caliber (9mm or 40) due to the constant movement in and out of vehicles and locations.

Concealable body armor is also essential with a minimum level III certification.

There was a lot of gunfire the first couple of days. But I also witnessed several knives on belts in the crowds as well.

I had a can of Sabre 3 & 1 pepper spray on my belt, which I planned on using for first use of force if needed. Unfortunately, I did not have the one piece of equipment that would have been helpful: a protective mask.

I noticed right away all the news crews had them. I was under the impression that I would not

need one until I got tear gassed, not once, but twice.

You do not need a military style mask, however. A common household cleaning respirator is sufficient.

Mental preparation is essential in being able to accomplish the task of protecting the media. You are dealing with unimaginable hatred by individuals who have no conscience as to what they are saying or destroying.

A prime example of this would be the security contractor I was working with. I’ll describe him as late twenties, reservist police officer from rural Ohio who never had to deal with this type of situation. His training was focused to serve and protect the citizens of his jurisdiction with any means possible, including use of force.

Unfortunately the morning after all the devastation from the first night, a group of black individuals confronted the Aljazeera news crew he was protecting demanding they go home. Thankfully, a St Louis County patrol came by to break up the demonstrators. He felt vulnerable and unprepared to deal with situation.

He went home that night.

The ability to maintain confidentiality with the news media is as important as having a firearm on your side. I noticed the Fox cameramen would take their logos off the cameras before we would go out. I wasn’t aware of such hatred towards them until hearing the verbal abuses directed about them in the crowds.

Also, I found it was important to let some in the crowd know you are with the media, just not what your specific role was.

A good example of this is when a large group of white and black individuals thought I was law enforcement. I was working with the Fox crew one night and the cameraman had struck up a relationship with one of the higher ranking (Capt.) Missouri State Police Officers during round 1. The Captain ( who I will not give out the name) pulled into the parking lot we were in with his patrol vehicle to give us a update as to what the night looked like. Unfortunately, the parking lot was in front of the Ferguson police station where all the protesters where.

They had seen us talking to him. They automatically assumed I was a cop assigned to the crew.

We left.

Lessons Learned:

The ability to protect principals in an unpredictable crowd is a skill that must be practiced before execution. The majority of private security contractors are current or prior military or law enforcement and have had experience with unruly crowds. Not only is it a constantly changing dynamic of violence, but also a show of embarrassing actions, directed at organizations and businesses that protesters are affecting. So it is important that we, in the security industry, constantly prepare ourselves and study the ever- growing changes in the world of social and civil disobedience and protests.

We must assure ourselves at all times that we are appropriate while working media protection. And, most often, appropriateness is determined by a threat assessment and preparation.

As Rick Colliver states in his book Principal Protection: Lessons Learned, it is important to remember diplomacy, alertness, and professionalism.

An inappropriate response to a situation is the fastest way to unemployment.

In the future we hope there will be ongoing discussions of media protection for management and increased planning. My recommendation for anyone who works these details is to be involved with the discussions and participate

Screenshot 2015-01-09 at 14.26.08

– Fox News crew with Producer, Cameraman, Correspondent, and Myself

Chatham House Rules

As the saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas”. Unfortunately for those that were not able to attend this year’s International Executive Protection and Secure Transportation Conference, specific details about the event will remain under Chatham House Rules.

What I will say about it is that it was an extraordinary networking and educational experience. The speakers presented well thought out, pertinent and, in some cases, eye opening information. From international  threats to trends in the expanding role of corporate executive protection, the conference provided exceptional insight into a changing domestic and international environment.

Unlike educational lectures, the purpose of the conference was collaboration. As such the attendees talked at length about their personal experiences and tactics and offered up suggestions on how to improve operations.

There was an impressive array of professionals in attendance from heads of security for major corporations to representatives of the healthcare and commercial drone industries. The international community was well represented as well with professionals in attendance who span the globe. From North America to Europe, Australia to Israel, nearly every operational region was represented and the networking opportunities endless.

Next year, the conference will be in Florida and I encourage any professional within the security, loss prevention and protection industries to attend, if for no other reason than the presentations by selected speakers were well prepared, informative and relevant.

Security Considerations for Religious Institutions

Religious institutions face unique security challenges. In addition to standard security practices they must contend with the possibility of increased hostility due to their beliefs, disgruntled members, and mentally or emotionally compromised individuals. Below is a brief overview of some standards and practices that leaders of a religious organization should implement in their quest to balance security and safety with openness and welcome. Due to its length I’ve included it as a PDF file so it will not smother the rest of the content on this blog.

Blog-Religioussecurity

Welcome to my Blog.

Thank you for reading my blog. I plan on updating this site regularly with information and opinion regarding the security industry, international affairs and political pieces. Also, I will have a separate page which will serve as a database for pieces I have written in pursuit of my degree. I will periodically update this with personal information and happenings.Thanks again and I will post shortly!

via A Brief Overview.