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Guest Post – Situational Awareness In Terrorist Age

With the summer season in full swing there is going to be more family travel, vacations, and domestic/international travel. For most on SSD situational awareness is second nature, but, there may be some new members or lurkers who are just starting to learn. I hope some of these thoughts will help someone plan out their response to a terrorist attack or active shooter situation. I am not an expert and always willing to learn, these are just some things I have learned from working in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past 11 years.

Note: I am going to use the word “spouse” to incorporate all relationships. “Families” can mean any group of individuals you are responsible for.

1. Know who you are with: It is one thing to attend a social gathering, go to a ballgame, or peruse the malls with individuals who are trained for violence (Military, LEO, PSD, Corporate Security) and quite another to be with people who only have experienced violence through video games. Realize they will have no situational awareness, nor, the training to help you survive an attack. Realize that developing even a simple tactical plan will be met with skepticism and any attempt to make them understand will probably be futile. Do the best you can, but, have your own plan for survival, do not let well-meaning individuals comprise your strategy. On the other spectrum, being with someone who is trained and especially armed is a real bonus and simple plans can be made driving to the venue. Just establish who will do what, who is the driver, who is the primary shooter, who is responsible for hunting exit locations, while the other or others provide protection, etc.

2. Yourself: Being alone during an attack and your response will basically come down to the fight or flight reflex. IMHO, what you will do, will be based on your psychological mindset, your training, your experience with violence, your profession. Be honest with yourself and your abilities to combat violence, experience has taught me that most men have a tendency to overestimate their combat abilities and usually just die on the scene. I don’t know what yours are, but, decide what you are going to do, before you arrive at the venue. In the middle of the attack is no time to be making the decision.

3. Family: Unless you are trapped and facing death, this decision is already made for you. You must get your family off the “X” and out of the primary attack zone. There should be no attempt at heroics when the ones you love are counting on you to provide leadership: know what you are going to do, where to take the family, etc. Often, terrorists on a major attack will place shooters at the main exits and kill as many as they can as they run out. Know where all the exits are, take the time to drive or walk around your venue, learn where the exit doors are, where the service entrances are, where the security kiosks or police substations are, where the exit roads are, where are the bottlenecks that a VBIED could be parked.

4. Spouse and Children: As much as I would like to assume your spouse is highly trained (man or woman) the odds are they are not, so, it is up to you to develop a basic plan. Have a quiet, serious talk and go over some basic strategy, Outline the need to be situationally aware, inform them what can happen and stress they are also responsible for helping survive an attack. I know it’s common for families to go shopping and split up, each going to their own preferred venue, but, during holiday vacations, that is a major tactical mistake. You don’t want to have some family member on one end of the venue and you on the other. Stay together, stay close.

If you have children with you, one of you must be the primary protector, it is simply too distracting to watch the kids and watch for an attack at the same time. Having small children is a dynamic all its own, I know. I once was part of a team that was providing security for an executive and his family below the border and trying to run with a screaming 4 year old under your arm and returning fire with one hand is for the movies. Decide who carries the child and who looks for exits, who will take point and who will not.

Your spouse must recognize the threat and be able to function in a terrifying situation. Teach basic commands in a loud voice. Examples like: Get the kids! Get tommy! Grab my belt!, Run to the back of the hotel!, etc. Simple commands, they work, because they are simple. Have a daily schedule and stick to it. Know the places you want to visit, go there, do what you need to do and then leave. Try to arrange for visits during non-peak times. When the venue first opens at 1000 is much safer than 1900, remember terrorists use the maxim amount of destruction for the maximum amount of media coverage. I occasionally have to go to the Afghan government palace and I don’t go there after 1400, which is prime hit time here.

5. Attack Dynamics: Talk to your spouse about a possible attack and the ramifications of being caught up in the situation. The noise will be loud, especially if they detonate a bomb first to soften up the guards/resistance or create mass panic which leads to easy targets. Try to make your spouse understand that people will be screaming and dying, and, if they have never experienced this type of violence, will probably go catatonic. This is a natural reaction that you must stop immediately, either by verbal commands or simply slapping the shit out of them.

You must get off the kill zone, you must survive or the kids will die. Try to convey how bad the panic will be and stress how important it is to follow your pre discussed plan and how you need to hyper focus on leaving by a safe exit, even to the point of running by people crying for help. You and the spouse have a family and nothing else matters. Harsh, I know, but there is a reason we leave a wounded member in a door way, it’s because we have to kill the threat, or, others will die. There is a reason you are leaving, so your family will live.

6. Vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED): Almost all major attacks start with some type of VBIED, especially if the goal is major venue. I have been around them for the past 11 years and I am totally paranoid about vehicles. I have certain rules about parking lots around large retail outlets and sporting venues. I always park far away from the main entrance, yes, your family will bitch about the extra walking, but, car bombs are not placed where they do the least damage. Would you rather have your family walk a little or park close to an entrance and die from an explosion? Remember, terrorists don’t park anywhere except where they can kill the most and if the car is not rigged, when they exit the vehicle they are already shooting. I would think you would rather see that from a distance.

If it can be avoided, I never walk between parked vehicles, especially in front of large venues. In fact, I will often circle a parking lot just to avoid being between parking lanes. Humans are creatures of habit and terrorists know this, they know you will walk to shortest distance to the market or entrance to a venue. One terrorist with a pair of binoculars and a cell phone can detonate a car bomb at any time. Don’t be stupid and lazy, take the long way around, if possible.

7. Vehicles: Thou any vehicle can be used as a VBIED, I am paranoid about certain vehicles: Toyota Camrys, brown or gray in color and made in the 1990’s (the all-time favorite), small white pickup trucks, like the Hillux and especially avoid large garbage and cement mixer trucks, which can carry enough explosives to level a small mountain. I was in the wrong place when they blew the T-walls surrounding the old Baghdad hotel using a large garbage truck, outside static security died instantly and then the ground forces moved in. You see any of these vehicles parked near an entrance to a venue or driving toward one, stay the hell away until they prove what they are.

8. Motorcycles: a quick word about motorcycles. In Baghdad, Kabul, and Islamabad, I have had experiences with terrorists using motorcycles to drive up to a vehicle and detonate a bomb carried in a backpack or pull up in front of some café, Embassy entrances, military checkpoints, etc. and either detonate or open fire with an AK. It makes me extremely twitchy to have some biker in the U.S. pull up in the lane next to me, and never trust someone who pulls a motorcycle up to a venue entrance wearing a backpack or a large coat, never know if they are there to detonate. Vacate the area until their intentions are known.

9. Weapons and Equipment: Do not engage the attackers even if you are armed, unless you are simply trapped and going to die anyways. You will probably be armed with a handgun and they simply don’t match up against AK’s or similar style weapons. A major assault will not be made with .22’s, so, you will be severely out gunned. And for those of you carrying, carry at least two extra magazines. Don’t bitch about your comfort, just remember, AK’S have 30 round magazines, you don’t. Use your weapon to fight for an EXIT or fight to allow your family time to escape, not for offense. What you chose to carry is of course your decision and based on what laws your state has on the books.IMHO, always carry a small powerful belt flashlight, knife (legal length) and a cigarette lighter. Trying to find a way out for your family during a power outage, smoke, or garage tunnels is hell without a light. The knife has many uses and the lighter has abilities to create all sorts of problems.

10. Harsh Reality: You need to discuss with your spouse the reality that your family may be close to a suicide bomber when they detonate. You will either live or die. If you live, you will have severe disorientation for several minutes and your hearing will be completely screwed. If possible, do not make any moves until your hearing clears (if it does) and wait until the dizziness fades enough for you to try to make a rational decision on which way to flee. Where there is one bomber, there are usually two. Talk to your spouse, acknowledge that one of you will probably die and the other one has the responsibilities to get the kids or themselves out. If they cannot handle this truth, then you have a real problem.

11. International: I have spent the past 11 years working, training, and living in various countries in the Middle East and South West/ Central Asia. These are a few things I have learned and they apply generally to every country I worked in. There are situations you must try to avoid at all costs: large crowds in the street, lines of people in the markets, whether the area is Shiite or Sunni, police or military checkpoints (prime targets). Always have reliable communications (I prefer two cell phones with different carriers), transportation, and in a perfect world, a backup team or direct communications with a Quick Reaction Force and if authorized, weapons.

12. International Travel: This is where everyone is most vulnerable. Know the airport schematics the best you can (usually maps on walls), arrive at least 3 hours early, get through customs and then walk the terminal noting the exits, bathrooms, and checkpoints. Does it have multiple levels? If so, spend time in the upper levels watching the crowds entering, because, if an attack occurs, it will usually happen on the ground floor. Locate airport security, identify if they are local police or military. Do they have roving patrols or fixed stations? If they are killed can you operate their weapons for your own survival? Visualize an attack and then decide what you are going to do to survive. What cover do you have? Where are the exits? Have a plan, no matter how simple, develop a combat mindset and focus on surviving.

13. Bombs: Avoid lingering around the “food court” at all times, if a mass of people are sleeping along the walls of the terminal (especially Kuwait International, Queen Alia, and Benazir Bhutto), simply walk on by. Watch everyone carefully, especially if they are carrying large amounts of luggage in boxes or other types of roped wrapped packages (nearly everyone in a third world country).Try to arrive early enough to avoids waiting several hours to check in, this has happened to me several times after late flights and waiting with several hundred people on the GROUND FLOOR of a terminal, surrounded by massive amounts of luggage is not a good situation. Most security entering the ground floor is shit, usually consisting of unarmed cops trying to direct traffic. If this happens to you, spend your time scanning the front entrance as much as possible, have a plan, no matter how simple. There is no shame in jumping past a ticket agent and crawling through the luggage conveyor belt if someone opens up with an AK behind you.

The most stupid things I see when I travel:
THE USE OF ELECTRONICS: For God’s sake, get those buds out of your ears and eyes away from that screen. How in hell can you hear gunshots, people yelling, rockets or mortars whistling in with music blasting? Example: Last Thursday I was starting my first leg back to Kabul and was waiting on a flight in the Atlanta International Airport when the alarm system went off (multiple rows of white lights) and a loud saying over and over (airport emergency, everyone remain in place). The first thing I thought was an active shooter, so, I had already made my plan and started for an emergency door. I looked around and numerous people were sitting in their chairs, eyes and ears slaving to the electronic hand God. Unbelievable.

Clothing: First, I am as guilty as anyone because my daily work clothes consist of 5.11.pants and shirts or one piece coveralls in desert brown, in fact, it is about all I own, but, have at least have a pair of jeans and some plain tee shirts for international travel. Nothing marks you more as an American than 5.11 style pants and a brown or US camo style backpack in an airport. I can see you in a crowd of 5000 TCN’s and if can see you, so can an active shooter. I stopped wearing my work clothes last year when Dubai authorities pulled me into secondary because they were looking for an “American mercenary”. Now, I travel with jeans and a North face carry on. In conclusion, never, ever wear a tee shirt with OBL’s face on the front and a “kill them all and let God sort them out on the back”. Seriously, I saw this in the Kuwait International airport and instantly knew who was going to get shot first. Be safe, watch your 6.

Special Agent Bill Carty
15 years in a major metro police department: Tactical SWAT Commander and Narcotics Task Force Commander.

2004-2006: PSD/ DOS Diplomatic Security Contactor/ Iraq
2006-2008: Senior American advisor to the Iraqi Minister of Interior/ SWAT/Corruption investigations/Baghdad
2008-20013: Special Agent (1811) IG investigations: Iraq
2013-Present: Special Agent (1811) IG investigations: Kandahar and Kabul, AFG.

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52 Responses to “Guest Post – Situational Awareness In Terrorist Age”

  1. Gerard says:

    Thanks Bill, great advice

  2. Dev says:

    Great advise overall. Got to add though, in areas of transit in South East Asia especially, military-style packs and bags are becoming the norm. Mostly carried by the milsim fantasist type with cheap Oakley’s and knockoff Under Armor shirts and bottom of the barrel bright brown suede boots.

    Dressing like the grey man is one thing, actions and physique count as well. I’ve lost count of the number of guys in high and tight haircuts, using military lingo in common conversation, loud brash and overly confident behaviour give away their nature. Or at least what they want the others to think.

    Dress modestly and according to the environment, act modestly, maintain situational awareness and remain perceptive but ultimately be polite, modest and keep to yourself unless absolutely necessary.

    • MK262 MOD1 says:

      Bingo on the “actions and physique” thing. No amount of low vis gear can make up for unrestrained conversation or mannerisms.
      On one of my last deployments, the ride home degenerated into planes-trains-automobiles once we made it back to europe. Wound up in Frankfort waiting at gate for a comair flt to ATL. Two dudes lingering near the gate are joined by a third and each is glad to see the other as handshakes and hugs are exchanged. Then two others. Eventually its six total waiting on one more. All are dressed and kitted in contemporary civvie gear (some of it very pricey dead bird stuff). But, relaxed grooming is flagrant and 4 of the 6 are f’n buff monsters. Their conversation at times became enthused and after about 15 min I had figured out they were SF and part of a team that had been traveling for days via separate means and this was link up. I also ID’d the team daddy and a commissioned officer. Never heard ODA /task force but did figure out what group.
      Finally a telling glance at the team SGT and he figured out they were being watched and gave me an embarrassed nod and moved them off to a corner.
      I totally understood those guys’ enthusiasm and tightness. They obviously were a very cohesive team. And scary looking as all hell. But they accepted risk by not going the extra few yards to subdue their emotions, mannerisms, and conversation to remain truly grey.

      • Bobby Denard says:

        How were they at risk? Where are these mythical hit teams waiting inside a secure terminal to target an ODA that materializes in front of them?

        Good for you for spotting some Team/Group guys.

        • Kev says:

          Buff monsters in dead bird gear: sounds like a fictional wet dream

        • Mr.E.G. says:

          But isn’t that kind of the point? One doesn’t know when and where a terrorist will strike.

          • Bobby Denard says:

            No. The point is to be smug and feel superior since he spotting some guys not being the grey man.

            • Stone11c says:

              Perhaps the recent “I’m a pissy muslim” attacks happening around Europe might just fit into the category of which he speaks…( Holy real life example Batman!)

      • Will Rodriguez says:

        MK262 MOD1 +1

  3. Marcus says:

    Solid advice. Thanks.

    As of late, the airport drop off and departure areas get my most heightened awareness. Don’t. Freakin. Linger. People. Say your goodbyes ahead of time and transit the area quickly. There is generally easy access by walk up or vehicle, very little armed security and overall an easy point of attack.

  4. MK262 MOD1 says:

    Excellent guidance. Thanks for taking the time and thought to post it.
    My wife will balk but I will definitely get her to read this.

  5. Bobby Denard says:

    Excellent article for those working in high threat countries.

    Overkill and unnecessary for those in the US, at least for now. If you are in the US and afraid of Camry and avoid walking between parked cars, you need to study risk and probabilities. If it’s not your job to think about and be paranoid about terror attacks, then don’t be. The risk is so small it’s almost infinitesimal.

    Again, at least for now.

    • Dellis says:

      So….when is it time to then to start having concern and increased observation? Is there a memo or Email that goes out and says, “Ok today is the day!” Or is it time after a terror event?

      Why not be proactive instead of reactive and wait for the “high threats” to come here stateside? No one woke up on that horrible day back in 2013 and thought, “I’m gonna be hit with shrapnel while watching or running in the Boston marathon!”

      Not sure bout others here but I am always watching the habits of people with packs. Did they just drop that pack there and walk away? Why are they wearing a heavy coat in Texas August?? That’s the 3rd time this young kid has come in this restaurant.

      When my wife and I travel the first thing we do is learn where the exits are in hotels, I park close to our room, ass in first. So I respectfully disagree with you, it is my job to be watchful and weary of strangers, places and the unknown. Some may call that “paranoid” but better paranoid and alive than carefree and dead in my book.

      • bobby denard says:

        When should you start to have concern about Toyota Camry’s being used as car bombs in the U.S? I guess when Toyota Camry’s start being used as car bombs in the US.

        Look up the odds of dying in a terrorist attack in the U.S. and compare it to the odds of dying for heart disease, cancer or falling out of bed (which is 81x more likely to kill you than a terrorist)

        I’m not telling you not to be situationally aware. And some of the things you mention are certainly things to be aware of. I’m arguing the author’s advice is overkill for living in the U.S. (Being afraid to walk between parked cars, taking note of Camry’s , etc.)

        • Alpha2 says:

          In the states I am not as concerned about a terror attack as when overseas but I am still plenty worried and aware about the run of the mill nutjob looking for an easy mark or opportunity, so no matter you should maintain your situational awareness and first and foremost give the electronic devices a rest when out in public. It amazes me how many people are all consumed by their phones and other gizmos that if i were not law abiding could swipe their wallet or purse without as much as a second glance, that lack of awarness I just cannot comprehend.

        • Mr.E.G. says:

          Bobby, I must respectfully disagree. The “draw Muhammad” terrorist attack happened right down the street from my house and I was a few miles away from the San Bernadino shooting. I agree that some of the specifics the author pointed out may be less relevant in the US but I strongly disagree that they’re irrelevant.

      • Kev says:

        Always be concerned and have increased observation the best kind of situational awareness is to never be in the situation, but you can take this so far that you never get out of bed.

        I don’t go to malls but I also recognize we’re not at threatcon Camry.

      • Will Rodriguez says:

        It’s all worthwhile advice even if one just considers crime as the threat.

        Splitting up at a venue. Are the thugs more likely to target a group vs. an individual.

        Parking away from the crowd makes it difficult for a mugger/carjacker/rapist to hide or blend into other people.

        Dress? Yep, don’t look like an American outside the US but it can be just as risky looking like a well off American in the States in the wrong venue.

        Electronic distraction, strange looking people, know your exits, have a plan?

        They all have their place here right now. Those that pooh pooh it have probably never had a brush with crime. It doesn’t mean the threat isn’t there though terrorists might be low on the probability scale.

        • Buckaroomedic says:

          I agree with Will on his points. The author’s concepts are just as valid for anti-crime as they are for terrorists.

  6. Iggy says:

    Good article. After 20 years of op oversight id add:

    1) know why you are where you are. Sounds simple, but have a reason to go with should the scenario change.
    2) stay awa

  7. Iggy says:

    Damn phone…

    2) stay away from tourist drinking areas inc especially hotel bars. In fact, in places like central asia, stay away from booze full stop. Its everything a strung out local hates about foreigners.
    3) learn to greet, excuse yourself and count to 10 in local languages. Being seen to make the effort is the biggest contributor to your safety.
    4) learn how to get shit done: loud demands, aggressive or dismissive posturing, gang mentality is very counter productive. A smile, handshake and feigned sincerity – plus a few small notes – gets you thru check in/lobbies/ques etc fast.
    5) no baseball caps, fancy glasses, t shirts, cargo pants or bum bags. Look like a doctor. Low key plaid shirts help cover arms, guts, tattoos and muscle and puts valuables in your breat pocket. Sneakers on your feet, geeky hat if you must. North face is like waiving an american flag – minimize logos.
    6) an airpot attack is a huge deal. Even if youre not present you will be delayed in a city on high alert. Consider other options to leave or wait.
    7) dont assume the cops in the stans, burma, north africa etc are your friends. Check other options for assistance ie UN, MSF, universities etc.
    8) make the accquaintence of key people: hotel managers, security staff, drivers etc. give nothing away about yourself, but let it be sublty known that you are aware who they are.
    9) dont act like youre anything other than a visitor because youre not. You will come and go and the locals will still be there, just as others like you have come before and will do after. Avoiding stereotypes is the number 1 thing to reduce being a predictable target. From DC to Tashkent this is baseline. Avoid any foreigner stunt behaviour
    And 10) see the continuum – the goal is not to get a job done its to get home again. The games on till youre back in youre living room.

    • miclo18d says:

      To add to this. Have a base knowledge of locations of embassies and consulates in the countr(y/ies) you are visiting. Possibly even some allies embassies if it is a particularly dangerous country. This applies to tourism also. A quick google search and a map view, gives you a reasonable lay of the land if a country goes to hell in a hand basket while you’re there.

      Base knowledge on language and customs can get you far. Be humble and apologetic and respectful. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

      #5 This is more correct than OPs NF apparel. When you land in a country and are going through customs and your entire team is pale 6ft tall 200lbs barrel chested freedom fighters, you stand out like a sore thumb in a land that everyone is brown 5ft tall normal people. That chuckle you have with yourself is really a realization that you are exposed. Have a plan. Look like a tourist or a professional on business and separate by time and distance. 2 to 3 people are on a business trip, 6-10 are a military unit bent on invasion!

  8. JLegg says:

    Learned a lot from this read…I’ll have to re-read it to get what I missed. Can someone help me out…why the lighter?

    • Mr.E.G. says:

      My guess would be as a backup source of light.

      • Adun says:

        Or to start a fire, or to light someone’s cigarette and make a relationship, or to give away as a gift, or to set off a fire alarm, etc.

  9. pbr549 says:

    I don’t think that there is anything wrong with the intent of this article. If learning happened, them mission is accomplished.

  10. rob says:

    thank god I live in a country where I honestly don’t need to heed any of this advice

  11. Istheway2 says:

    I’d add, read The Gift of Fear and Left of Bang, and get your s/o, family/friends, etc. To read them. Fast reads and great primers.

    • Adun says:

      And:

      Verbal Judo
      On Combat
      The Like Switch
      What Every Body is Saying
      Pre-Suasion
      etc.

  12. Great post.
    Reminded me of a book that came out in 2015 by a guy who was on our team. He was the target of a hit piece drummed up by dems bc he made a powerful enemy when the market crashed and investor money was lost. They sued him and hired reporters to try and destroy his career, but the guy knew his shit and his book was spot-on GRAY WORK: CONFESSIONS OF AN AMERICAN PARAMILITARY SPY.
    Heard he was killed last month in Mali working with a UN organization, RIP.

    • Bobby Denard says:

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/cia-vets-smell-bs-in-super-spy-memoir

      https://www.outsideonline.com/1926591/spy-who-scammed-us

      Your guy is a liar and scammer, if you are talking about Jamie Smith. (Before you say the reporters were paid off, ask yourself why he didn’t sue them for defamation and libel?)

      • Slow down there bud…

        He did file a defamation lawsuit…$30,000,000 in federal court in Florida against the writers and the publication. It’s in litigation now.

        Don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions from left wing liberal hit piece articles.

        • Will Rodriguez says:

          +1

          I see a trend developing with Bobby

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Denard

        • Ed says:

          He is/was a fraud.

          Was he really KIA in Mali?? I cannot find any article stating his name or presence there.

          • I’ve heard the same as far as KIA Mali. He was there. The book has a section on a “contractor” working in Mali.

            His book actually has some fucking solid tradecraft. I’m former JSOC and have worked with the guy and his shit is legit. If he got sideways with some investor and then had a problem with the economic downturn in ’07-08, so be it. If they won a lawsuit, so be it. But the guy knew his shit and his book is one of the best when it comes to laying out shooting, tactics, vehicles, tradecraft and surveillance. Actually, when it was reviewed by CIA it should have been denied publication – too much. But they did and he actually blacked out what they wouldn’t let him publish.

            In short, the guy wasn’t a fraud when it came to operating. Financially, if he and an investor had a pissing contest, that’s outside of me. But I’ll vouch for him as an operator all day long.

            • …and one more thing…if he had “stolen” from anyone and committed fraud, don’t you think he’d have been charged and convicted?

              Let me fill you in…the opposition DID try to get him thrown in jail…they hired a democrat politician lawyer and he got the FBI to impanel a grand jury and they TRIED to indict him…but guess the fuck what? -they didn’t. Why? Because the guy was clean. The liberals threw everything they had at him and all they got was a couple of has-been-bullshit online news outlets to defame him. The govt declined to indict or prosecute the guy. He’s suing the bullshit artists and you should read his book before you start believing the bravo sierra that’s been spread around.

              • …and you can fucking factcheck me – BIGBIRD is my callsign.

                • Ed says:

                  He also lied about “being” a Navy SEAL, something very close to home to some of us.

                  In the end, it looks like he is a fraud.

                  Out

                  • Lol no he never said that or claimed that.
                    When he was shot in Pakistan the news ran a story on it. Because he had worked at blackwater the Chicago sun times’ story said he was a seal (likely because nearly everyone who worked there was). They later corrected it – and you can find this shit online, if you care to do the work and not just buy the bs from the left. The paper buried it in the back of their “corrections” section, so it wasn’t widely seen.
                    Later when the hit pieces were written they used that story as more evidence that he was a douche bag. But the guy wasnt.
                    The guy worked with seals at bw, hired seals when he ran his own company but never did I ever hear him claim to be a seal.
                    Don’t believe everything you read.

                    • bobby denard says:

                      From the Outside mag article quoted above –

                      “The publisher’s description for Gray Work calls him a “cofounder” of the company. When pressed now, Smith says he was the founder of a “division” of it. One of his former bosses at the firm, Gary Jackson, describes Smith as a low-level administrator in the months following 9/11. Erik Prince, one of Blackwater’s founders and its CEO, wasn’t as kind.

                      “Gentlemen, any work by Jamie Smith can only be classified as pure fiction,” Prince said in an e-mail. “He was fired from BW for nonperformance, and most of all, habitual and constant lying. He has a history of fantasy and not paying his employees. If you’d like a list of aggrieved to interview it will take a while to get through them all. Do you get the idea?”

                      I guess the “opposition” got to Erik Prince and Gary Jackson, huh? Seriously, who are these opposers that want to bring down Jamie Smith? And why? (Like all good conspiracy theorists, I’m sure you can find some link to blame it on.)

                    • bobby denard says:

                      Just because you didn’t hear him claim to be a SEAL doesn’t mean he didn’t claim it to someone else.

                      Read the article above. All his hometown buds said he’s a habitual liar.

        • bobby denard says:

          Link please. If he filed, it’s public record.

          • bobby denard says:

            I did find a reference to him suing Outside. So there’s that. It was over two years ago, so I assume it went nowhere or has been dropped.

            • bobby denard says:

              Outside magazine is going to be able to show that Jamie maybe did not describe 100 percent accurately everything he did, but I think they did him a disservice,” Oliver said, by failing to publish information Smith provided them and by failing to verify some of his claims.

              Oliver is Smith’s lawyer in the defamation suit. So even Smith’s lawyer says he’s a liar.

              • bobby denard says:

                Sorry. The quote above wasn’t clear. Here’s a quote from Smith’s lawyer that filed the defamation charge.

                “Outside magazine is going to be able to show that Jamie maybe did not describe 100 percent accurately everything he did, but I think they did him a disservice,” Oliver said, by failing to publish information Smith provided them and by failing to verify some of his claims.”

                http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-outside-magazine-libel-suit-orlando-20150113-story.html

                • You’re a fake news troll just like the asshats that came after Smith. I worked with, knew him and knew him to be a solid operator, and a good man who made an enemy when the economic downturn blew away his company’s investments. That guy who sued him had already been sued for dumping toxic waste, lost that and was trying to hide his money from that judgment when he “invested” with Smith…yet never told Smith’s lawyers he was hiding from a judgment.
                  Then when he lost his money he hires a democrat legislator as his attorney, has the case moved to that legislator’s district and surprise surprise the jury of voters in that democrat northern Virginia stronghold agrees with their hometown legislator.
                  Then the asshat who sued hires the two “writers” who spoke to three kids from his high school who haven’t seen or spoken to Smith in over 27 years (one of whom wasn’t even in high school when Smith was) and that’s supposed to be relevant?
                  It’s a fake news bs and your trolling the guy. You should be ashamed of yourself.
                  …and no the suit isn’t dead by any stretch. I just gave my deposition for the estate last month.

                  • Ed says:

                    He was NOT in the CIA, He was NOT working Iraq back in 1990=91, the guy was able to build an impressive resume from lying, stealing and fraud! Why would Erik Prince, retired CIA personnel that are public and his “friends” from his hometown all have the same “conclusion”?

                    He is a F*cking lying POS, who cares if he “knew” shit or didn’t??! He is a non-performer and a fraud, PERIOD!

                    Did that journalist who got “rescued” from a 5-star hotel, was he in-onn the “conspiracy” to de-fame Smith as well???

                    Come on, why would all these separate entities all come to same conclusion he’s a low down lying sack of shit??? Huh?

                    We’re done here!

  13. rrossouw says:

    I’m not military or LEO, but this has been an interesting read. My wife and I do just about all this – except the clothing, I’m guilty – cargo’s are just too useful when traveling.
    My job sees me visit some potentially dodgy areas in first and 3rd world countries around the globe.

    Many times I’ve found Google earth to be very useful in scoping out hotels, customers offices and places I’d like to see while there.
    It also helps me locate local army bases, police stations, hospitals and foreign embassies (who may be friendly or targets).
    Just bear in mind that the visuals & maps may be out of date.

    Also get an off-line naviation app and download the map before hand, have a look and get a feel for the area before going there.
    Load the addresses of the places you have to go to, like to see and bug-out locations. If you’ve got intel on areas to avoid, load them as well.

  14. WorkingDog says:

    “Nothing marks you more as an American than 5.11 style pants and a brown or US camo style backpack in an airport.”
    Oh dear Lord, yes. Having said that, visit a regional euro train station and you won’t see lots of jeans, a t-shirt, shorts, running shoes, white socks, baseball caps, huge watches, and American brands, either, at least among
    professionals. (If you don’t want to look like an American, don’t shop at American stores.)

    “Seriously, I saw this in the Kuwait International airport….”
    On a related note, if there’s a car waiting for you, and the driver has with a sign that says, e.g., “Welcome Deputy Ass’t. Director So-and-So of the U.S.M.S.” … just keep on walking.

    “God’s sake, get those buds out of your ears and eyes away from that screen.”
    On a related note: You are many, many magnitudes more likely to be killed by distracted driving (yours or someone else’s) or walking than by a “terrorist” in America. Similarly, if you combat park at the mall and avoid the food courts for fear of attack — yet will still drive there during holiday rush hour — your sense of comparative risk is way, way, off.