The security week that was: 05/06/11 (Beyond bin Laden)

Beyond bin Laden

We started this week with the astonishing news that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a daring raid at his own fortified compound by a specialized JSOC team.

If anyone was wondering what relevance bin Laden had in today's world, considering that he was hidden out of public view to protect his life, the raid proved it. Following the raid that ended bin Laden's life, documents were found at the compound which indicated that bin Laden and al Qaida were eyeing the U.S. train system for a possible attack on the 10th anniversary of 9-11-2001. The documents indicated this was only in an initial conceptual stage, without specific planning, but what it shows is that even hidden out of the public eye inside a Pakistani compound, bin Laden was still serving as a nexus for terrorism operations.

Osama bin Laden remains relevant to terrorism in his death, and his death even has the potential of launching more terrorism. Immediately after news of bin Laden's death reached the U.S., security and law enforcement teams were ramping up precautions to prepare for possible retaliatory attacks. We saw more uniformed police officers present around critical infrastructure and transit systems, even though there was no distinct raising of our nation's alert level by the DHS.

As part of final planning for next week's Secured Cities conference (, I spoke with Deputy Chief Brian Harvey of the Dallas Police Department (he's one of our lead speakers at the conference). After learning of bin Laden's death, Deputy Chief Harvey said that in Dallas an effort was made to be diligent about security at key public facilities, and he said there was also an effort to reach out to critical infrastructure operators and remind operational and security teams there of the possible situations that bin Laden's death could create. Harvey noted that there wasn't any direct intelligence indicating plans for attacks in his jurisdictions, but he said the goal was to remind everyone -- from city employees to law enforcement officers, critical infrastructure operators and others -- that there needed to be an emphasis on continued vigilance and that persons needed to quickly report any suspicious event.

Deputy Chief Harvey's call for vigilance is one that applies directly to the realm of corporate security, especially for any of our readers whose operations have either the public stature or risk level that might make them a target for retaliatory actions. The threat not only comes from al Qaida, but also potentially from lone individuals not formerly associated with bin Laden's organization -- but who might harbor hatred towards the U.S. and who could use bin Laden's death as a flashpoint for their own anti-U.S. emotions.

Now a few days after bin Laden's death, we have been fortunate to not experience any attacks. That doesn't mean we should let down our guard; terrorism plans aren't often created overnight, and events of this week can create incidents years from now. Certainly don't believe the hype that al Qaida is effectively over. Even if that organization is significantly weakened, there will be others to fill the vacancy.

In other news...
Bright forecasts for MNS and intrusion markets, Pinnacle sued by Missouri AG, more

IMS Research is predicting strong growth in adoption of mass notification systems and a strong rebound for the intrusion detection market after a disappointing couple of years. ... Utah-based Pinnacle Security is being sued by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster for allegedly engaging in deceptive door-to-door sales practices. ... Five men that were seen taking pictures near a nuclear plant in the UK were taken into custody by authorities and later released. ... UTC Fire & Security has purchased more than 85 percent of the outstanding shares of Norway-based gas and flame detection systems maker Simtronics.