Airmen and Family Eagle Eyes help secure bases

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  • By USAFE Public Affairs
As a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, the Air Force implemented an anti-terrorism program called "Eagle Eyes," which educates people on observable activities and what to do if they see something suspicious.

"The Eagle Eyes program is operated by each local commander and enlists the help of base personnel and the civilian communities surrounding the base for their eyes and ears to report suspicious activities," said Special Agent Angela Fitting, Air Force Office of Special Investigations Region 5.

"The 2001 attack did not spontaneously happen," added Special Agent Matthew Alter, AFOSI Region 5. "There were precursor events that eventually led to the attack. These terrorists conducted surveillance, planned their attacks and rehearsed the operation."

With the limited number of Office of Special Investigations agents and Security Forces members, the Eagle Eyes program lets Airmen and their families ease the strain. They can assist by ensuring there are no suspicious activities happening in their community or reporting them if there are.

"They shouldn't confront an individual they think is suspicious," said Special Agent Fitting. "If they're looking suspicious, they might also be dangerous. Write down what you can, get to a phone and contact law enforcement."

Air Force community members are encouraged to have contact numbers for reporting suspicious activity readily available.

"For the quickest response, people can program their local Eagle Eyes or base law enforcement desk phone numbers into a cell phone," said Special Agent Alter. "The faster a report is made, the faster law enforcement can react and possibly prevent an incident."

According to AFOSI officials, there are seven patterns of behavior in particular to keep an eye out for.

Surveillance: Someone recording or monitoring activities. This may include the use of still or video cameras, note taking, drawing diagrams, map making or using binoculars.

Elicitation: People or organizations attempting to gain information about military operations, capabilities or people. Elicitation attempts may be made by mail, fax, e-mail, telephone or in person. Examples could include being approached and asked about what's happening at the base, troop strength numbers, the number of airplanes on base, etc.

Tests of security: Any attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches or to penetrate physical security barriers or procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses.

Acquiring supplies: someone purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammunition, detonators, timers, etc. Also includes acquiring military uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes or badges (or the equipment to manufacture such items) or any other controlled items.

Suspicious people: People who don't seem to belong in the workplace, neighborhood or business establishment. This category is hard to define, but the point is that people know what does and does not look right in their neighborhoods, office spaces and communities.

Dry run: Putting people into position and moving them around according to their plan without actually committing the terrorist act. This is especially true when planning a kidnapping, but it can also pertain to bombings. An element of this activity could include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow. Take note of people moving around from place to place without any apparent purpose and doing it, perhaps, many times. The appropriate example here is the 9/11 hijackers, who are now known to have actually flown on those exact flights several times before 9/11, working out arrival times, parking, ticketing, going through security, boarding, etc.

Deploying assets: People and supplies getting into position to commit the act. This is a person's last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs. Look for people loading vehicles with weaponry or explosives, strange-looking people in military uniforms, or people who seem out of place standing by at a certain location as if waiting for something to happen.

Editor's note: This story is a compilation of previously published articles by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Kapinos and AFPN.