Watching the system in progress

This morning as I normally browsed the local and network news there was a story of a suspicious vehicle near the pentagon. Local authorities had the area cordoned off due to reports of a possible bomb in it.

The report stated that there was one suspect in custody that was arrested
at Arlington national cemetery. Apparently he was walking around the cemetery at 0-dark-30 and when approached became resistant. The investigation led back to his vehicle at the pentagon.

The story came on the heels of 2 other stories: the ayman zawahiri story and the chatter of the al qaeda letter that stated there were 40 select targets they were going after.

The response of the local officials and federal authorities showed that the system is at least working in a timely fashion. What it also showed was that information coming out of the news media needs to be sifted before we, in the security sector, react hastily. Although the nexus of the incident remained fluid throughout the different network news agencies, the resulting information varied, which led to varying investigative results. Some stations were reporting explosive devices were confirmed to have been placed throughout the city by the suspect at strategic locations and others reporting that it was unconfirmed.

After a couple hours had transpired the consensus was that the suspect had spray paint cans in his book bag and nothing in the vehicle.

What did we learn? Information is power and detrimental at the same time if not articulated properly. As a former investigator I always tell people it’s all about what you know and what you don’t know. Information that is not factual can be construed differently by 2 different people resulting in 2 different responses. The more information you have, a clearer picture can be drawn. Suspect arrested and possible bombs in a vehicle near the pentagon is NOT sufficient to run guns up, but it is sufficient to wake up all stations.

It is our duty to do a proper assessment and implement properly. Acquiescing to conjecture will only deem you as a knee jerking trigger puller.

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