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You may make the difference -- countering terrorism requires your help

  • Published
  • By AFOSI Det 602
Only you know who or what belongs -- or doesn't belong -- in your building, neighborhood, or work center. Recognition of this fact is the driving force behind the Air Force's "Eagle Eyes" program. 

The program has characteristics of a typical neighborhood-watch program, and Air Force officials consider it a key piece in the service' s anti terrorism strategy. 

According to Special Agent Marnie Vedo, Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 602 operations officer, "the program relies on the vigilance of our entire base population: active duty, dependents, civilians and contractors. Everyone must be aware of what's going on around them and then take the next step to actually report anything or anyone that looks suspicious. 

"Eagle Eyes is the program for doing just that," said Special Agent Vedo. "The simple act of recognizing suspicious behavior and reporting it to base authorities could thwart terrorist acts and save lives." 

At Andersen, anyone with something to report should immediately call the 36th Security Forces Law Enforcement Desk at 366-2910. 

From there, security forces will respond as appropriate to the immediate situation and immediately pass the report to AFOSI Det 602 here. AFOSI will begin appropriate follow-up action, which may include an agent responding to talk with the person who called in the report to gain additional information or possibly involving other on-island law enforcement agencies as needed. 

Det. 602 up-channels all reports to AFOSI's central analytical center at Andrews AFB, Md., to compare with other Air Force reports, as well as similar information from the Army, Navy and other federal agencies. 

"None of this happens without our base personnel starting the process," said Special Agent Vedo. "Terrorist operational planning activities can take place any time and any where. Law enforcement agencies are already stretched thin so we rely on everyone to be a Eagle Eyes spotter." 

According to Lt. Col. Jim Hudson, AFOSI Det 602 commander, terrorist acts don't just happen -- they are carefully planned and rehearsed well in advance.
"The key is public awareness of what to look for and take note of -- both on and off base," he said. 

He added that this is something the whole community needs to be involved in.
"As Americans, our natural tendency is not to confront people," said Colonel Hudson. "Most of us are brought up to respect people's privacy, be polite and avoid confrontation. However, when you notice something out of the ordinary or a person in your unit that you don't recognize, we want you to safely engage with that person and ask them their business. 

"Many times they're just looking for a particular office or need assistance," he said. "If they are gathering information you've just put them on notice. Depending on the situation, you should then escort them out of the facility or notify security forces to take control of the situation." 

Special Agent Vedo added that people shouldn't be gun-shy about reporting incidents that could turn out to be innocent behavior. 

"That's bound to happen from time to time, but you don't know if it's innocent until you report it and have it checked out," Special Agent Vedo said. "We're much less concerned about too much reporting than we are with too little. When lives are at stake, it's better to be safe than sorry. If in doubt, report it. Your call could make the difference. The bottom line is if something bothers you or doesn't seem right, tell someone." 

Special Agent Vedo said activity that should be reported can be classified into six broad categories: 

1. Specific threats -- any threat received by any means that contains a specific time, location, or area for an attack. 

2. Instances of any out-of-the-ordinary person or persons monitoring activities and/or recording information. Such activity may include using cameras, taking notes, making notes on maps or drawings, making hand-drawn maps or diagrams, and using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices. It could also be as simple as seeing the same unknown vehicle repeatedly parked in the same area without explanation. 

3. Any attempts to obtain security-related information -- or even basic information about the base -- by anyone who does not have the appropriate security clearance and the need-to-know. Known as "elicitation." These attempts may be made by e-mail, fax, telephone, in person, or through the mail. 

4. Any attempts to measure security-reaction times or strengths and weaknesses; any attempts to test or to penetrate physical security barriers or procedures; any attempts to acquire or duplicate uniforms, badges, passes, or other security-related documents. 

5. Repetitive activities -- any two or more suspicious activities by the same person and/or vehicle in a one-month period. 

6. Suspicious activities/incidents -- any activity that does not specifically fit into the previous categories, yet it is a concern to you. Some examples of this are thefts of uniforms, ID cards, or vehicle decals from your vehicle, home or office. 

The "Eagle Eyes" program is an Air Force program, but it's also an individual program that can protect all of us. Your vigilance, awareness and reporting of suspicious behavior could be the piece of the puzzle that uncovers a terrorist plot or other intelligence gathering activity. Remember, if it appears suspicious, report it to 36th Security Forces Squadron at 366-2910 or AFOSI Det. 602 at 366-2987.

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