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A Publication of Michael G. Kessler & Associates, Ltd.
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Fraudbusters® Edition
Volume 6

Question Mark Logo Number 1

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Better Safe than Sorry

"Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America" President George W. Bush

On Tuesday September 11, 2001 the world as most of us know it monumentally changed. America was shaken to its very core by a tragedy, which no one could have predicted possible. Our nation, long free from the ravages of war, was suddenly faced with the possibility that this peace would surely be impacted by the actions of a few hateful individuals.

Icons of our nations democracy, wealth, and tradition crumbled before our eyes, in news footage that would be forever engrained in our minds. Images, which appeared to belong in war footage of distant lands, were taken upon American Soil. In the center of trade, in the nations capital, on the faces of helpless victims who struggled to understand how this could possibly happen in a nation, which annually spends 25 billion dollars on national intelligence to avoid such catastrophes.

All of us are now faced with the task of trying to make sense of senseless acts. In the end, the enduring factor will be the strength and united efforts of Americans. The words most eloquently spoken by president George W. Bush, "Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America." One week later, we all go about our daily jobs trying to bring some sense of normalcy back to our lives, never forgetting what has happened, forever changed by it, but realizing that as a nation the best thing we can do now is move forward.

The question now is how long will it take for the shock and fear to subside and for Americans to resume life, as they knew it before September 11th. It was not until this horrible tragedy that we realized how many areas of our lives would be impacted by an event of this proportion. Statistics stated that over 100,000 people had their lives personally touched by this tragedy, meaning that they lost a son, daughter, parent, sister, brother, aunt or uncle. This statistic doesn't even include those of us who lost dear friends or others who simply lost their sense of security by seeing what one senseless act could do to a country. Still life must go on and events, which we previously considered mundane, now cause us much fear and trepidation.

Corporate America which heavily relies on air travel to promote businesses and services is now more cautious as to how often our executives set foot on planes for fear that another terrorist action will tear apart the very core of our corporate structure. One firm based on the top floors of the World Trade Center lost 700 employees in this horrific act of terrorism. An event that no one could have foreseen.

Now Corporate America pauses to ask a very crucial question, "How can we protect ourselves from becoming casualties of crazed terrorist activity?" At Kessler International we are often called upon to provide safety and anti terrorist training to companies worldwide, which have often feared these attacks. There are widespread forms of terrorism, and therefore they required strategies targeted to each separate form of terrorism. Hijacking, Bombings, and kidnapping, head the list. Fears that rarely crossed our minds. But real fears which we must all be aware of and take measures to avoid. Below we have compiled crucial information to help Corporate America protect their employees and their corporations from becoming victims of such heinous crimes.


Perhaps the terrorist activity most key in our minds is that of hijacking. Unfortunately the average individual has little control over their protection while flying. If the travel takes place on corporate or private jets it then becomes the responsibility of the company to assure that the plane is protected from unauthorized access.

· The airport facility in which the plane is housed must have adequate security measures in place to provide the same, if not greater, levels of security found on commercial airliners.
· All personnel with access to the plane must be subject to thorough background checks.
· Entry to the plane must be closely monitored. No individual should at any time be allowed access without the presence of security personnel on board to monitor their activity.
· Cockpits should be fitted with panic alarms to allow a possible hijacking to be immediately reported to the control tower. A contingency plan must be in place to deal with the possibility of foreign intervention.
· Sky marshals may also be utilized to protect the passengers during flight. The addition of an armed agent on board would be a definite deterrent to hijacking attempts.
· Proper training of all airplane personnel must be in place in the event of a hijacking. If the personnel on the plane are properly trained they will be aware of key signs of a possible hijacking attempt, and possibly be able to prevent its occurrence.

Hijacking is a definite fear among Americans today in light of recent events. The fact is that due to this fear airline travel has been severely curtailed. We should not always be willing to rely purely on the security measures of airline personnel, since we have become very conscious of the fact that their measures have certainly not been up to par.

Awareness is an important element and any suspicious activity should be immediately reported to authorities. Unfortunately, with the creation of plastic explosives, it often becomes difficult to locate their existence and they are often able to slip through security checkpoints. The only hope we have is that due to recent activities there will be an upgrade in both security practices and personnel so that we may once again feel some measure of comfort when boarding a commercial flight.

Bomb Threats

It is the responsibility of the employer to assure his work staff that the environment in which they work is safe from fear of bodily harm. Up until the recent World Trade Center incident most employers and employees viewed this as simply being certain that the buildings were up to code and that all fire safety laws were strongly enforced. Suddenly, this has all changed. Not only must the work environment be safe from these possible threats to worker safety, but also add the threat of terrorist intervention.

Perhaps the greatest threat is the possible introduction of incendiary devices, which can be masked in every size shape and unlikely appearance imaginable. The following should be considered in order to protect the physical environment of the workplace and those within its structure.

Being prepared for the possibility of a bomb is of utmost importance- A structured bomb incident plan as well as a physical security plan must be in place, including a chain of command and center of command in the event that a bomb threat is received. This will give your staff confidence that the threat can be properly handled and that they are in good hands, thus eliminating a mass panic, which is often the cause of physical injury during these incidents.
Reduction of the areas of accessibility to the General public- If the areas in which a bomb may be planted are limited to a select few, in which the public has access, it will be much easier to not only prevent the possibility of a bombing, but will also create a far lesser area to search should a threat be reported.
Proper Communication Centers are critical- When devising the bomb incident and physical security plan the command center should always be located in a communication center, such as the switchboard room, so that communication between those implementing the plan and the general assembly of workers will be easily accomplished. A chain of command should be assigned with backups in the event of the absence of those in charge. A physical blueprint of the plant facility should be kept updated in the communication center.
Authorities should be contacted both in advance, to help establish these plans, and also in the event of any threats to the safety of workers. No one can handle incidents of this nature better than professionals. When creating your bomb plans it is essential to contact local authorities, who may have a team in place to help set up such a plan, which would greatly improve the success of such a plan. In the event that a threat is made immediate contact with these authorities can save time, energy and possibly lives.

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Provide Bomb incident training to all senior personnel. Local authorities will often offer assistance is setting up training programs to inform and educate your senior staff, or possibly all of your employees, in the necessary measures to help prevent the possibility of bomb planting and also the proper procedures for handling bomb threats. Minimally, your senior staff must be trained in how to deal with crisis situations and how to help maintain calm during these times.
The physical structure of your corporate location must be designed to minimize the possibility of bomb placement. Most facilities have a security staff on sight whose job it is to help prevent intruders from entering secure areas and also to protect the employees who are within the structure. There are however some physical considerations that must not be overlooked. Fencing and adequate lighting, along with controlled access to the facility should be considered. Employee parking should be closest to the facility with visitor parking at the furthest location to avoid car bomb placements. Heavy shrubs and vines or window boxes and planters should be eliminated, as these provide an easy drop spot for incendiary devices.
A highly visible security staff is a necessity. Often just seeing a facility, which is constantly under the surveillance of a security patrol, will deter a terrorist from attempting to place a bomb at such a site. This is often an inexpensive measure, which can not only prevent the terrorist from choosing your facility, but also help instill calm among your staff.
Installation of close circuit TV systems are a good preventive deterrent to bomb plants- This is especially true in large facilities which cannot be as closely monitored by security personnel.
Employee Photo Ids should be distributed to all staff members- Admittance to the facility should not be permitted without presentation of these badges.

If the above measures are implemented the possibility of bomb placement will be greatly minimized. It is often hard for us to understand the importance of these measures until an event like the World Trade Center incident occurs and then we realize how important a plan is to deal with a crisis of such magnitude.


The primary reason people are kidnapped is to extort money or action from their employers or loved ones. It is therefore the express responsibility of the employer to protect their personnel from the threat of kidnapping. This must be done in advance of any threat and should be initiated early in the organizational plan.

Key executives are the most visible employees in an organization and therefore the most likely targets of a kidnapping plot, however they are by no means the only targets. Often employees in overseas locations are most susceptible to this terrorist activity.

The key element in a structured plan to prevent kidnapping is the attitude of those who are in need of this protection. The plan must be fully implemented and taken seriously by those involved. Often possible targets will not believe that this could happen to them and by exerting this opinion may only partially adhere to the policies set up for their protection. It is a common human trait not to want to face reality when the reality deals with a very unpleasant possibility. Subscribing to the belief that the individual could end up being a prospective target may cause the subject to feel this casts a bad light on their character or reputation. Often a suspected target may only be convinced to adhere to the anti-kidnapping plan when they are told of their importance in relation to the continuation of the corporation and not their own personal safety. For example, a CEO must not be exposed unnecessarily to kidnapping risk if its occurrence would cause major problems for the organization. This approach permits those with concerns about image to base their defensive actions on the needs of the firm or group rather than their own needs for protection. Another argument may be the responsibility to the individual's spouse and family. By adhering to the following guidelines the possibility of kidnapping will be greatly reduced.
Reports of the presence of any suspicious individuals should immediately be made to the authorities. One of the key elements to a successful kidnapping is the element of surprise. To accomplish this the potential kidnapper must be very well educated as to the actions, habits and schedules of his target. This will often be done by tailing a prospected victim for days, weeks, or even months before carrying through with the actual kidnapping attempt. If it appears that someone is following the executive, or seems to be constantly turning up in the same locations, a report should be immediately made to the security department and the local authorities. If the element of surprise can be removed often the kidnapping attempt will be thwarted.
Money may not be the only incentive to kidnapping. The expectation that the only individuals who are likely to be kidnapped are those with massive amounts of wealth may be false. There are several types of kidnapping. Personal gain may well be the basis, but there are also those who kidnap for political reasons. These terrorists hope that the publicity revolving around the kidnapping will give light to their cause. They will often require that their political desires be met before releasing their victims.
As the element of surprise is essential to the kidnapper, it may also be the factor that helps to prevent the attack. If the potential target has a plan in place to prevent kidnapping it may in fact take the kidnapper by surprise. Kidnappers do not expect their targets to be prepared for this event, by doing so you can often beat them at their own game.
A structured defensive plan of action must be in place. In preparing a defensive plan, the objective is to develop a carefully thought out scheme of defensive actions that will discourage the kidnapper from even making the kidnapping attempt. Keep in mind that there may still be individuals willing to make the attempt and therefore a thorough plan must be in place.
Placement of key personnel should be such that access cannot easily be achieved. Any potential victim of kidnapping should be physically placed in a position of protection within the physical environment of the organization. The office space of a key employee who could be a logical kidnapping or terrorism victim should be situated so that visitors cannot gain access without passing an effective control point, which can be a secretary or receptionist. Physical arrangements should prevent access without positive action by either the protected person or the secretary. Locked doors with remote release capability can achieve this protection. The addition of "panic," alarm devices connected to the facility alarm system should be available within arms reach of both the key employee and the secretary or receptionist.
Parking locations should admit key employees directly into the facility. A parking facility should be set-aside for key employees to provide direct access to their office locations. If this cannot be established then a security employee, or other escort, should be designated to meet the arriving car and accompany the official to the office.
Most kidnapping attempts are made either at the target's residence or while in transit. This is often the case because the workplace is probably the most secure of the environments frequented by the prospective target. The kidnappers will often choose the easiest path to achieve their goal. Therefore a security system must also be installed at the key employees home to prevent the possibility of abduction while off the premises of the workplace. Lighting and fencing should also be present at the residence to help discourage attack. Background checks should be done on all domestic staff and workers as a precaution. In addition any individuals claiming to be from local utilities should be carefully screened and their authority questioned.
Travel plans or other details of the employees scheduled where a bouts should not be public knowledge. By giving away such crucial information the safety of the employee may be compromised. Since the home and workplace may be secure, the kidnappers may choose to use the time in which the employee is away from both locations to carry out the kidnapping plan. Therefore, the less people who are aware of the schedule of the key employee, the better the chances for their safety.
Routes to repeated locations should be frequently changed. If a key employee must travel to a location repeatedly it is wise to frequently change the route so that their movements cannot be easily traced.
Vehicles should blend in with the populace. A big luxury vehicle in a third world nation would be a sure invitation to a kidnapper. Vehicles should blend in and not be so easily spotted. This will make it more difficult to spot the possible target.

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Copyright © Michael G. Kessler & Associates, Ltd. 2001. All rights reserved.

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