|By PR Newswire||
|March 24, 2014 03:44 PM EDT||
SAN JOSE, Calif., March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The FBI arrested a California National Guard reservist on March 17 as he headed for the Canadian border on his way to Syria. Once in Syria, Nicholas Michael Teausant, who is also a student at San Joaquin Delta Community College in Stockton CA, planned to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Mineta Transportation Institute's (MTI) security experts Brian Michael Jenkins and Bruce Butterworth offered some insight into the history of these kinds of transit attacks based on data collected in MTI's proprietary database on surface transportation attacks around the world.
Mr. Jenkins, director of MTI's National Transportation Safety and Security Center, said, "Although he had never attended the army's basic training course and was in the process of being discharged by the National Guard for failing to meet 'basic education requirements,' Teausant thought he could teach the Syrian jihadists shooting skills and urban warfare tactics."
Determined to deliver what he described as "a maximum blow to the US government," Mr. Teausant told a confidential informant working for the FBI that he had previously planned to bomb the Los Angeles subway and had inquired about buying powerful fireworks, presumably to use in an improvised explosive device. Teausant was charged with attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Is this case unusual? Not at all, says Mr. Jenkins. Buses, trains, and subways – unlike airliners – must provide more access points for the public and are more difficult to secure. They feature more prominently in attacks and plots. And the hardest to detect may be those involving one person – the "lone wolf" attacker – because they may not be collaborating with anyone.
Who is Nicholas Teausant?
It is not clear from the indictment how far Mr. Teausant's plan to attack the subway had progressed, noted Mr. Butterworth. Mr. Teausant told the informant that the plan had been "all set up," but he and the other plotters then "called it off" because he had heard about some arrests by the FBI and feared that the plot might be compromised.
Mr. Teausant, 20 years old, an American citizen, and a convert to Islam, appears to have had problems at home. He worried that his mother, whom he called an infidel, would betray him. But that, he said, would give him "an excuse to put a bullet in her head and five or six bullets in [his] stepfather's head."
Once in Syria, Mr. Teausant had ambitions to become a commander and be "on the front of every newspaper in the country." He said, "Like, I want my face on the FBI's top twelve most wanted. Because that means I'm doing something right."
Mr. Teausant's mother told reporters that her son might have been motivated to join militants in Syria after learning he would be discharged from the National Guard.
Transit attacks have a long history.
According to the two MTI security experts, Mr. Teausant's selection of LA's subway system parallels other homegrown terrorist plots in the United States and elsewhere. The March 11, 2004 bombing of Madrid's commuter trains by al Qaeda-linked jihadists, which just over ten years ago killed 191 people, has continued to be a source of inspiration. On July 7, 2005, four al Qaeda-inspired suicide bombers carried out bombings on London's Tube and a city bus, killing 52. Another four jihadists attempted to replicate this attack two weeks later, but their bombs failed to detonate. In 2007, bombs planted aboard a commuter train in Mumbai killed 2007.
Other terrorist plots targeting subways or commuter trains were uncovered in London in 2002 and 2003, Sydney in 2005, Milan in 2006, and Barcelona in 2008. Plots in the United States include a 2003 al Qaeda plot to disperse poison gas in New York's subways, a 2004 plot to bomb New York's Herald Square subway stations, a 2006 plot to blow up the subway tunnel under the Hudson River, a 2008 plot to carry out a terrorist attack against the Long Island Railroad, a 2009 plot to carry out suicide bombings on New York's subways, and a 2010 plot to bomb Washington DC's Metro. Of these, the 2009 plot, for which Najibullah Zazi had already prepared the explosives, posed the most immediate threat.
Out of 44 homegrown jihadist terrorist plots in the United States as of March 2014, five were directed against subways or commuter trains, including Teausant's alleged plan. In addition, two more plots prepared abroad targeted subways. In all, there were seven plots to attack surface transportation in the US.
Plotters go tor high body counts.
These plots are discussed in Carnage Interrupted: An Analysis of Fifteen Terrorist Plots against Public Surface Transportation (San Jose: Mineta Transportation Institute, 2012, free download). The MTI report notes that in all the cases, the plotters hoped to achieve a high body count. Subways offered easy access and crowds of potential victims. Bombings during rush hours were a preferred course of action.
The plotters obtained information from readily available public sources and conducted their own reconnaissance. (It is not known yet whether Mr. Teausant conducted any research or reconnaissance.) In some cases, we know that the plotters observed security measures such as closed-circuit television. A jihadist terrorist manual advises would-be terrorists to avoid train stations with CCTV cameras. In cases where information is available, existing security measures did not prove to be a deterrent to the plot, but of course, we have no information on plots that may have been deterred. Intelligence efforts were the key factor in interrupting most of the plots.
More on average are being killed per attack.
"The relative infrequency but relative lethality of attacks against subway trains and stations can be quantified by the Mineta Transportation Institute's database of terrorist and serious criminal attacks on public surface transportation throughout the world," said Mr. Butterworth. "The subway system in particular is an attractive target, as are intercity and commuter trains and their stations, along with buses."
The database contains information on 3,754 attacks committed between January 1, 1970 and recorded as of March 10, 2014 against buses, bus stops, and stations; passenger and freight trains and their stations and tracks; passenger ferries (which have suffered some particularly lethal attacks) and their terminals; and road infrastructure. All these attacks killed 9,368 and injured another 33,506, killing an overall average of 2.5 people per attack.
There were 1,810 attacks (48 percent of the total) against buses, bus stations, and stops, killing an average of 3 people per attack. By contrast, there were 788 (21 percent of the total) attacks against intercity commuter and passenger trains and their stations, but they killed on average more people – 3.8 instead of 3.0 per attack
"But let's turn now to subway trains and their stations in this same time period," said Mr. Jenkins. "Since 1970, there were only 63 such attacks. They represent a small percentage – only 2 percent -- of the total. However, the lethality of attacks is considerably greater at six victims per attack. Yet, to be more accurate overall, when we remove the February 18, 2003 arson incident in Daegu, South Korea, the number of victims falls back in line with attacks against other targets. In this case, a mentally disturbed man ignited a fire that killed and injured a very large number of people – with 198 killed and 147 injured. Without this single incident, attack lethality drops to 2.9, which is less than for passenger trains and stations (which includes the March 11, 2004 attack against the Madrid commuter rail system, which killed 191), and slightly less than for buses."
IEDs increase lethality.
But the comparison changes when looking at attacks since 9/11. Even with the Daegu arson excluded, the 23 attacks that occurred since 9/11 killed 157, an average of 6.8 per attack. In addition, the only attacks that caused fatalities involved the use of improvised explosive devices, such as those used in the 2005 London subway bombings. Those 12 attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) yielded a substantial fatality rate of 13 deaths per attack.
By contrast, the lethality for 1,190 bus attacks since 9/11 was only 3.1 deaths per attack, and the lethality for the 481 attacks against intercity and commuter trains and their stations was only 2.2 deaths per attack.
Comparing both frequency and lethality before and after 9/11 is even more revealing. While the frequency of attacks for bus targets increased from 19.5 per year before 9/11 to 103.5 per year after 9/11, lethality went up only slightly, from 2.9 to 3.1 deaths per attack. For intercity and commuter train targets, the frequency went from 9.7 attacks per year to 41.8 attacks, but lethality (excluding two highly lethal attacks in the rural areas of Angola and one in Cambodia before 9/11) decreased from 4.6 to 2.2.
Turning to attacks against subway targets, the frequency of attacks went up only slightly – from 1.2 per year to 2.0. But the lethality of those attacks increased eleven-fold, from an average of 0.6 to 6.8 fatalities per attack.
Finally, one can look at the most lethal combination of targets, explosive devices, and method of delivery in western or similar cities elsewhere. Of the ten most lethal combinations since 1970, five involved subway trains or stations; four involved commuter or intercity train stations; and one involved the December 2013 bus trolley attack in Volgograd, Russia.
Transit attacks are not new.
According to the MTI database, the most lethal of all the 10 attacks was the August 2, 1981 bombing of the Bologna train station by a neo-fascist terrorist organization, which killed 85 people and injured more than 200. This demonstrates the long history of these attacks. The second and third most lethal combinations were the February 6, 2004 bombing of a Moscow metro train in a station by a Chechen terrorist group, killing 40 and injuring 122 with a single bomb, and the March 28, 2010 attack by two Chechen suicide bombers who detonated their devices in two underground Moscow metro stations, together killing 40 people and wounding at least 58. The other attacks include the infamous Madrid commuter train and London tube bombings, as well as the December 29, 2013 bombing against a train station in Volgograd.
Clearly, subway trains and stations, as well as passenger train stations, dominate the attacks using explosive devices in major cities
It is easy to understand, therefore, why so many plots target the urban subway and train systems and why the thoughts of this young jihadist recruit turned toward the metro system of Los Angeles, said Mr. Jenkins.
What to do?
Subway systems by their design have to remain open. Imposing airline-like security measures will make mass transit either slow, unable to carry masses of people, or both. Governments are working hard on detection measures, but these encounter many technological and operational limitations in the real transit environment.
Mr. Butterworth said, "Measures that make it harder for terrorists to predictably achieve success, such as roving patrols, random and selective screening, and improved CCTV monitoring, do help. And, of course, as we saw in the case of this would-be terrorist, competent intelligence and law enforcement intervention remains absolutely vital. We documented these in a 2007 MTI report, Selective Screening of Rail Passengers, and in a follow-up report in 2010, Supplement to MTI Study on Selective Passenger Screening in the Mass Transit Rail Environment. Both are available for free download."
Meanwhile, keeping both passengers and employees alert is key. "See Something, Say Something" may sound trite and tired in the rapid transit system, but it can work. While the MTI database doesn't reveal a huge number of cases where it did work, in the 3,754 attacks recorded against train, bus and other targets, there are indications that in somewhat less than 400, someone interrupted the attack. Sometimes the narratives do not specify who took the initial action (in about 170 cases). In other cases, they were interrupted by police, military, intelligence agencies, or anonymous tips. But we also know that in another roughly 45 cases, they were stopped by passengers or citizens in the area, and that in yet another 75 cases, by drivers or crew, transit employees, or security officials on the scene. Without these interventions, the collective death toll could have been much worse.
The experience of the bus system in Israel during the Second Intifada between September 2000 and the end of 2006 gives other examples that trained drivers and employees, and an alert traveling public, can reduce attacks or their lethality. We explored, along with an Israeli security expert, 16 cases of such attacks in a 2012 MTI study Security Awareness for Public Bus Transportation: Case Studies of Attacks Against the Israeli Public Bus System . In eight of the 16 attacks, good security measures and security awareness "played a role in stopping the attack or at least mitigating its consequence," although in some cases, poor tactics and bomb-making skills were also involved.
"Yes, our necessarily open transit system and our riders are, unfortunately, targets for people like Teausant," said Mr. Butterworth. "And yes, airline-like security isn't appropriate for open systems such as mass transit. But solutions are being investigated, in part by using data such as this. In the meantime, we are not helpless, nor should we see ourselves that way."
ABOUT BRIAN MICHAEL JENKINS
Brian Michael Jenkins is an international authority on terrorism and sophisticated crime. He directs the Mineta Transportation Institute's (MTI) National Transportation Safety and Security Center, which focuses on research into protecting surface transportation against terrorist attacks. He is also a senior advisor to the president of RAND. From 1989-98, Mr. Jenkins was deputy chairman of Kroll Associates, an international investigative and consulting firm. Before that, he was chairman of RAND's Political Science Department, where he also directed research on political violence. He has authored several books, chapters, and articles on counterterrorism, including International Terrorism: A New Mode of Conflict and Will Terrorists Go Nuclear? Most recently, he published When Armies Divide, a discussion about nuclear arms in the hands of rebelling armies. He also has been principal investigator for many peer-reviewed security-focused research reports for MTI.
ABOUT BRUCE R. BUTTERWORTH
Mr. Butterworth has worked at congressional, senior policy, and operational levels, including with the House Government Operations Committee, Department of Transportation, and the Office of the Secretary. He managed negotiations on air and maritime services in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) (now the World Trade Organization), chaired U.S. delegations to United Nations committees, and was part of the response to the bombing of Pan Am 103. He was an executive in airline security, and he launched a successful program of dangerous-goods regulation and cargo security after the 1995 ValuJet crash. He worked closely with Congress and other federal-level agencies and departments. Currently, he is a research associate at the Mineta Transportation Institute. Mr. Butterworth received an MS degree from the London School of Economics and a BA degree from the University of the Pacific (magna cum laude). He was a California State Scholar and a Rotary Foundation Fellow.
ABOUT THE MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE (MTI):
MTI conducts research, education, and information transfer programs focusing on surface transportation policy and management issues, especially related to transit. MTI was established by Congress in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act and won national re-designation competitions in 2002, 2006 and 2011. The Institute is funded by Congress through the US DOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration, by the California Legislature through Caltrans, and public and private grants. In 2006 the US Department of Homeland Security selected MTI as a National Transportation Security Center of Excellence. The internationally respected members of the MTI Board of Trustees represent all major surface transportation modes. MTI is the lead institute for the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium, an affiliation of nine university transportation research centers. MTI is affiliated with San Jose (CA) State University's College of Business. Visit transweb.sjsu.edu
Contact: Donna Maurillo
MTI Communications Director
donna.maurillo (at) sjsu.edu
SOURCE Mineta Transportation Institute
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
May. 24, 2016 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 910
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
May. 24, 2016 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 705
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
May. 24, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,624
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
May. 24, 2016 05:45 PM EDT Reads: 600
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
May. 24, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,829
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
May. 24, 2016 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 996
Enterprise networks are complex. Moreover, they were designed and deployed to meet a specific set of business requirements at a specific point in time. But, the adoption of cloud services, new business applications and intensifying security policies, among other factors, require IT organizations to continuously deploy configuration changes. Therefore, enterprises are looking for better ways to automate the management of their networks while still leveraging existing capabilities, optimizing perf...
May. 24, 2016 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 890
Cloud computing changed data analytics for good. It enabled companies to drastically decrease resources and architecture previously assigned with business intelligence departments. It also enabled laymen to run advanced business analytics. Cloud was also the architecture of choice for storing and processing big data. Data piling is a continuous process, which is going to explode with emerging Internet of Things concept. Answer to this issue developers found in new concept called fog computing. ...
May. 24, 2016 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,809
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will discuss the vast to...
May. 24, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,341
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
May. 24, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,673
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...
May. 24, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 854
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
May. 24, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 916
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
May. 24, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,066
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
May. 24, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,832
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
May. 24, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,354