Christine Spigai

Large scale terrorist and lone-wolf attacks can occur anytime and anywhere, endangering lives and causing irrevocable damage to property and reputation. MSA Security® recently developed a new resource: High Consequence Threats: A Timeline of Events highlighting just a few of the many high-profile explosive incidents and active shooter events over the past four decades. The timeline serves as a historical reminder that while we live in an ever-changing landscape, the threat remains pervasive and consistent.

Security professionals from organizations of every size and scope must stay informed on evolving terror tactics, tradecraft and frequency to effectively monitor and address the threat. A strong and layered program is necessary to protect organizations of every size and scope from threats to personnel and property. In this blog, we review three incident case studies that occurred while a comprehensive security plan was in place at client sites, leveraging MSA Security’s services. In each of these scenarios, the outcome could have been drastically different without robust protections in place.

Explosive Detection Canines | At a professional sports stadium, an MSA Explosive Detection Canine (EDC) Team conducted a routine sweep of the parking lot area. During the sweep, the canine exhibited a change of behavior which indicated to his handler the presence of explosive odor. The handler worked the canine according to explosive odor tracking protocols, allowing the dog to lead the way toward the source of the odor. An additional MSA EDC Team was also deployed to the area and demonstrated a comparable change in behavior. The second team successfully identified a curbside vehicle parked outside the stadium where the dog “sat” providing a positive indication of the odor source. Law enforcement was contacted, the vehicle owner was identified and the vehicle was inspected, revealing fireworks (flash powder) in the trunk.

Explosive Screening of Cargo | At an airport cargo facility, an international courier delivery service scanned a planeload of packages. During the routine screening process, the X-ray screener observed one package with an apparent pipe bomb connected to a motor. Immediately implementing company security protocol, the screener notified law enforcement and contacted MSA Security’s SmartTech® Emergency Operations Center in New York for real-time expert analysis of the suspicious image by MSA bomb technicians. Instantly, the SmartTech® team examined the image which appeared as a real improvised explosive device. With subsequent investigation of the manifest, MSA’s bomb techs concluded that the object did not pose any danger. It was a mock explosive device named “pipe bomb under a skateboard” created by a Brooklyn, New York, art gallery. A costly evacuation was averted.

Hostile Threats Identified | In a major east coast city, MSA’s Hostile Surveillance Specialists (HSS) were employed to provide critical covert surveillance of a multi-acre campus. Their role was to identify, assess and thwart any potential pre-operational surveillance, threat planning, hostile activity or active threats. During a routine counter surveillance post, the HSS operative observed a suspicious package near a rear door and immediately reported it to the Chief Security Officer. Following coordination with the client’s broader security team, additional packages were discovered at sites across the campus, raising suspicion of a potential planned attack. Law enforcement arrived and conducted an inspection which revealed the packages were not dangerous.

The importance of a comprehensive security program is easy to overlook in the day-to-day. Incidents can appear to be few and far between, but the reality is threats remain persistent and critical. A serious incident can occur anywhere, and at any time, spanning geographies, industries and tactics. An ongoing, professional and comprehensive security program is the only successful way to thoroughly address the evolving threat spectrum. The most successful organizations are active, rigorous and vigilant on security with a firm commitment to proactive processes. Staying ahead of every potential threat – 365 days a year, 24 hours a day – is simply non-negotiable.

Download the full Attack Timeline here


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