Public-private partnerships are a critical component of stopping terrorism, and an alert public plays an essential role in protecting the homeland. Three intelligence and law enforcement professionals addressed these issues at the recent Chemical Security Regulatory Workshop, jointly hosted by the Chemical Industry Council of California (CICC) and ADT Advanced Integration, held Tuesday, September 13, 2011 in Norwalk, CA.
Panelists James Peaco, Special Agent, Los Angeles Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) WMD Coordinator; Maury Bas, Supervisory Special Agent, Los Angeles FBI; and Regina Canale-Miles, Special Agent, Los Angeles InfraGard Chapter spoke about “Collaborating with Intelligence & Law Enforcement – Recognizing and Reporting Suspicious Activity,(link should only be to words in yellow, remove the rest of the link) Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). We are pleased to share with you higlights from the panel, including programs like Infragard and TripWire programs that demonstrate the value of the public-private partnership.
Toxic Industrial Chemicals in WMDs
Mr. Peaco opened the discussion by providing an overview of the FBI organization and its various missions, stressing that the agency’s most important mission is defending against acts of terrorism. Mr. Peaco then reviewed the scope of chemical and biological agents used in WMDs by terrorists and the potential threats and consequences posed by those agents. He believes the number one domestic terrorist threat today is toxic industrial chemicals because they’re so readily available and have the potential to do enormous damage to our community if utilized in a WMD. Finally, he highlighted the importance of the public-private partnership, noting that members of the chemical industry are in the best position to prevent toxic chemicals from getting into the wrong hands.
TripWire: Local and National Suspicious Activity Reporting
Next, Mr. Bas spoke about the FBI’s TripWire program. TripWire is designed to identify groups or individuals whose suspicious behavior may be a precursor to an act of terrorism, by taking tips and leads from members of the public who work in or have knowledge of specific industries. TripWire programs operate on both local and national levels. For the Local TripWires, a Division Field Intelligence Group (FIG) may identify an entity within its local area to serve as a liaison regarding a specific threat activity. The FIG would educate the contact regarding what constitutes a threat, collect information regarding the potential threat activity and encourage them to alarm the FIG if activity is spotted.
Currently there are approximately 23 national “tripwires” in areas such as mass transportation, bulk fuel distribution, rental trucks, and storage facilities. Mr. Bas again emphasized the importance of the public-private partnership, explaining that increasing public awareness and suspicious activity reporting is the number one weapon we have against terrorism.
InfraGard: Information Sharing Between Public and Private Sectors
Finally, Ms. Canale-Miles discussed InfraGard, a private sector education and information sharing program sponsored by the FBI. InfraGard provides a forum for the real-time exchange of security information, training, and expertise related to the protection of critical infrastructure. Ms. Canale-Miles specifically underscored the importance of security awareness training for critical infrastructure operators and personnel, stressing that knowing what to look for and report as suspicious is the first step in preventing a terrorist act.
Infragard also brings together representatives from the private and public sectors to help protect our nation’s critical infrastructure—both virtual and physical—from attacks by terrorists and criminals. The program is run at the national level by the FBI’s Cyber Division, and each FBI field office has at least one chapter where meetings are held to discuss threats and share experiences and best practices that impact member companies.
Both the Infragard and TripWire programs demonstrate the value of the public-private partnership in stopping terrorism. Protecting and securing the homeland is all of our responsibilities and an alert public plays an essential role. Please remember, if you see something, say something!
By guest blogger Steven Partridge - Steven is Regional Manager - West for ADT Advanced Integration. He is a member of the American Chemical Council (ACC) and the Society for Chemical Manufafacturers Affiliates (SOCMA) and the Chemical Industry Council of California (CICC).
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