Secrets behind Surveillance and Counter-surveillance

Published: 05th June 2008
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Countersurveillance is one tool in a kit of protective intelligence tools used by well educated and trained protection professionals. The key to successful prevention, disruption, and mitigation of a potential threat against a client is the employment of effective surveillance and countersurveillance.



- Countersurveillance is a proactive strategy that seeks to prevent and disrupt the surveillance activities of criminals, terrorists, and those that have the potential to harm a client or their assets.



Providing effective protection to clients depends on carrying out advanced surveillance and countersurveillance operations in such a way that it forestalls and prevents attempts by hostile parties to gather and act upon information about a client's activities or interests in such a way that it could cause harm (like kidnapping, robbery, extortion, and even death).



Surveillance The fact is that sophisticated criminals and terrorist groups conduct surveillance on their targets before perpetrating a crime or launching an attack. During their surveillance, for example, nefarious individuals look for patterns in the daily activities of their victims - they might study how a protective security detail of an important client, for example, is organized, how they operate, and then devise plans to exploit perceived vulnerabilities.



Types of Surveillance Surveillance, the process by which intelligence information is acquired in the field, requires careful technique and dedicated patience to gather good information. Surveillance teams, to be effectual, must be aware of any countersurveillance tactics that might be used by those protecting their purported targets.



Surveillance can range from simple observation in person for a few moments to clandestine and highly technical operations involving multiple persons or teams and expensive equipment for eavesdropping and so forth.



Effective Countersurveillance Countersurveillance involves altering travel routes and routines, thereby confusing and intentionally misleading would-be assailants. Some strategies that can be employed by countersurveillance teams include making appropriate use of safe houses and alternative residences for clients as well as using an irregular schedule.



Confounding adversarial surveillance teams through deceptive countersurveillance techniques, however, is only one component of a comprehensive countersurveillance strategy. Ultimately, successful countersurveillance teams don't wait for something to go wrong before taking action; they, instead, adopt a modus operandi of perpetual preparedness by remaining vigilant and thinking proactively.



One way that countersurveillance teams can anticipate different types of threats is to engage in "red teaming" exercises where mock perpetrators conduct surveillance operations and help spot potential vulnerabilities. When problems or soft spots in the countersurveillance are identified, solutions could entail introducing more variety in a client's schedule to make their daily 'routine' more unpredictable.



Conclusion



A concluding - but by no means final - note about countersurveillance is the commensurate need for developed protective skills that are typically gained through years of residency experience, limited, 'spot' training through various certification programs or through advanced education and degree-granting programs that specialize in protective security and intelligence.



Regardless of where or how one acquires the necessary protection skills, knowledge, experience, and education, a countersurveillance professional should possess a deep understanding of how surveillance works, how to collect intelligence, how to analyze and identify possible threats based on that intelligence, how to develop and implement procedures to protect a client facing threats, and how to detect, mitigate, and where possible prevent emerging threats to a client.





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Founded in August 2001, Henley-Putnam University is a leading educational institution in the field of Strategic Security. Offering nationally accredited online Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees in Intelligence Management, Terrorism/Counterterrorism Studies, and Protection Management. For more information on Henley-Putnam University, call 888-852-8746 or visit us online at Henley-Putnam University

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