Tim McVeigh, Terry Nichols, Richard Reid and John Walker Lindh notwithstanding, the greatest terror threat we face here in America will come from individuals who originate from other countries. With perhaps only a few aberrational exceptions, they will at least have that in common. They may be Middle Eastern, or European Caucasian, or Black African, or Asian. They will not share American ideals or celebrate American holidays or revel in America’s passions.
It’s doubtful one will see them lining the streets in small-town America to watch a parade on Independence Day or Memorial Day. They won’t normally attend social functions or small-town celebrations where they have to interact with their community. While they may have wives and children (most will not) it will be unusual to observe them in family settings or embracing “American” activities such as neighborhood picnics, barbequing or washing the car on a Sunday afternoon. Terrorists do not come to America to embrace the American culture. They come to destroy it. At the same time, just because foreign individuals do not do any of these things, doesn’t mean they are terrorists. Sometimes it takes a long time for people to assimilate into a new society and feel comfortable.
So, what should you look for? Terrorists in higher, leadership positions are often educated in such fields as computer programming, communications, sciences and engineering and other professional and technical areas. They will more often than not, be renting a nice house or apartment rather than being a home owner. If they are not married, it might be unusual to observe them with a date or a woman.
It will be difficult to determine if they have a means of support or a job they leave for every day, yet they will appear to have funds that allow for a comfortable lifestyle. While they might be employed, one should notice if they do not normally have a routine like a regularly employed individual going to and from work at regular intervals. Often there will be a number of male individuals who frequently come and go at various hours, singly or in groups. You may observe them with video cameras, surveying an area that has no particular visual interest.
They may be spotted at university libraries but are not enrolled as a student. They may spend short periods of time in internet cafes, checking emails but not doing general web surfing. If you catch their attention, they may not directly meet your eyes, or if they do, they may not acknowledge you with a smile or a nod, but rather they might appear to be looking through you. In this way, they can ignore that you are actually just like them. It’s easier to kill those whom you do not identify with.
They may make or receive a lot of short term cellular phone calls in which they attempt to seclude themselves from others who could otherwise overhear. Invariably, they will speak in a native tongue rather than English. It would be unusual for them to receive a call from an English speaking person. Be aware of furtive glances during these phone conversations. They fear surveillance and are paranoid of it.
They may rent a farm and not use it for its intended purposes even though suitable residential properties are available with better conveniences. Neighborhood pets that disappear or become ill or die in close proximity to such properties can be a curious clue. They need to test the lethality of gas or chemicals. There may be unusual sounds or smells involved. Pay particularly close attention for the smell of diesel fuel or kerosene and the sounds of power equipment. Spotting one or more fifty-gallon drums should be an immediate tip-off and deliveries of fertilizer with no agriculture should be a red alert!
Delivery vans parked on the premises or being driven to and from the residence by casual visitors should be noted, as should a vehicle, which is stripped down and disassembled. If you haven’t called the FBI by this time, you might consider calling them quickly and if you get the feeling the agent taking your call is bored, ask to speak to a superior and failing that, go up the chain to another office.
Changes in grooming are Important. Prior to embarking on an act from which they do not expect to return, an Islamic terrorist will shave his face and other parts of the body. Changes in behavior are also warning signs. Terrorist move among us, but they do not readily acknowledge us because we have no real meaning for them beyond being objects of hatred and scorn. For this reason, they will be polite, but not overly so and never really friendly. They will not go out of their way to encounter or engage anyone outside their normal company. Should this change, it should be noted.
Human nature being what it is, a terrorist setting out to kill innocent people may take an opportunity to demonstrate some small kindness or compassion which is totally out of the ordinary for this particular individual. This kindness may be directed toward a child rather than an adult, as only children of infidels are considered innocent. This is a mechanism that helps convince them that what they are doing is really for the good of mankind. You may witness a strange and knowing smile or expression that was never present before, as if they have a secret soon to be revealed. Or, you might notice that where once they were at a minimum at least polite, they may act irrationally rude or unusually impolite.
Individuals who regularly frequented the residence may suddenly stop arriving, or activity may cease altogether and the residence may appear abandoned. If this happens, it could be totally innocent, or it could mean the clock is ticking somewhere and lives are in jeopardy.
There is no “profile” of a terrorist. What I have highlighted may prove to be totally useless. After all, we are talking in generalities about people who are from other cultures and almost everything they do will seem odd and therefore suspicious to us. Keep in mind, everyone in the world who has no malevolent aim, simply wants to be comfortable in their environment. You as an American citizen can accomplish a huge public service by going out of your way to try and make culturally diverse neighbors feel comfortable. Make the effort to meet them and come to understand them. I have personally, never met a truly “unfriendly” person from another culture here in America! Not at least after I extended the hand of friendliness. If you make that effort and they respond in kind, the odds are monumentally in your favor that you are not dealing with a terrorist.