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“The Terrorism Industry”: An Al-Qaeda Course in Security and Intelligence – Part Eight

This is the eighth segment in the series “The Terrorism Industry” by Sheikh Abu Ubaydah Abdallah al-Adam, who was until his death a prominent leader of Al-Qaeda responsible for its intelligence and security operations. The series was published by the Al-Fajr Media Institution, which is responsible for disseminating the written, audio and visual materials of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

Security of Facilities

In the field of jihad, the meaning of the term “facilities” refers to any place in which a secret operation occurs that must be hidden from view, such as training centers, centers for preparing car bombs and apartments used for secret activities. Even the enemy has secure facilities: embassies, military bases, government offices, etc., and it is important to understand which security arrangements have been made in these places if one decides to attack them. Securing facilities involves a series of steps and obstacles whose purpose is to protect the facilities from attack and infiltration.

Every jihadist facility faces a myriad of dangers, including an enemy attack in which significant individuals in the facility are killed, as the Israeli Mossad did to Arab nuclear scientists. Another danger is the overall destruction of the facility by means of arson, damage to or theft of facility instruments, or chemical destruction using poisonous gases. Another way to destroy a facility is to damage the morale of its employees through psychological warfare by spreading false rumors. In addition to intentional methods of destruction, there is always the threat of natural disasters: earthquakes, floods and storms. Facilities also face the threat of espionage: sometimes the enemy will send spies inside the facility to observe it regularly and examine its makeup in order to plan an infiltration or attack. It is worthwhile for employees to form good relations with the neighbors and with the owners of businesses and stores near the facility because intelligence agencies often try to gather information about a facility from such individuals, and it is best if they can warn the mujahideen of these efforts in advance. In addition, various intelligence organizations around the world plant listening devices in target facilities in order to gather information about the facility in an indirect way without sending in spies. Sometimes the enemy even tries to send people to speak with employees of the facility in a seemingly innocent and non-suspicious way and take advantage of their lack of security awareness in order to extract information from them about the facility; sometimes, the enemy even sends people to talk to family members or acquaintances of facility employees.

Physical Security

In order to protect the facility, there are natural factors to consider when choosing a place (geographic location, mountains, etc.) and artificial steps to be taken:

  • Security: Security is divided into three types: human security, which includes placing guards at fixed strategic locations in the facility as well as patrols around the facility; security using animals, such as trained guard dogs to warn when a person is approaching the facility; and electronic security, which includes electronic devices, video cameras, alarm systems and heat-activated sensors.
  • External Protection and Selection of the Site: The location selected for the facility should be far from main roads and visible areas. In addition, it is best to choose a location far from industrial areas, crowded areas, houses and especially tall buildings that the enemy can climb in order to take pictures of the facility. It is best not to select a place that the enemy has conquered in the past since the enemy is already familiar with the location, and the facility should not be located below the radar of enemy planes. Before selecting a location for the facility, the organization’s director of security and screening should be consulted.
  • Barriers: Barriers should be erected around each facility – solid walls that prevent outsiders from seeing what is happening inside the facility, as well as fences that prevent the enemy from penetrating the facility. The walls must be sufficiently high and constructed in a way that prevents them from being climbed. In addition, the walls must be located far from the internal buildings.
  • Camouflage: Secret activities must only be carried out in enclosed structures in order to prevent enemy spy planes and drones from seeing what is happening.
  • Towers: Towers must be dispersed in a manner that enables both internal and external monitoring of the facility, and that covers all angles from which the enemy is liable to approach. The towers should be equipped with alarm and lighting systems, and must contain the necessary measures for the protection of the guards stationed in them. There must also be a channel of communication between the towers.

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