Sunday, August 14, 2005

US Document re fuel tankers as weapons

Leaked US intelligence document warning of terrorist attacks on London and America using fuel tankers

Sunday Times 14 August 2005

(Fuel Laden VBIED)

Advisory General New York State Office of Homeland Security Message Green

August 11, 2005

This communication from the New York State Office of Homeland Security is Sensitive. The New York State Office of Homeland Security in conjunction with the Upstate New York Regional Intelligence Center, issues the following advisory to the Oil, Gas, and Transportation sectors:
George Pataki Governor James Kallstrom Advisor on Counter-Terrorism
The United States Intelligence Community has repeatedly advised of threat streams suggesting al Qaeda and affiliated groups have considered using a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) in a US-based attack.
There are numerous historical and current threat streams to suggest the terrorist use of tanker fuel trucks, among other vehicle types, to facilitate a major explosion targeting critical infrastructure and designed to create mass casualties or economic destruction.
Senior al Qaeda operational planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, captured in Pakistan in March 2003, has told interrogators that he had developed terrorist plots targeting gas stations due to their apparent vulnerability and the potential destructive force of a fuel-driven explosion. Terrorists in Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq have effectively used large fuel trucks as VBIEDs against military and civilian coalition targets. The following tear line information, provided by the Intelligence Community, identifies a possible threat to the United States involving the use of fuel tankers as Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices. This tear line has been widely disseminated throughout law enforcement channels, generating numerous inquiries regarding the imminent nature of the threat.
Although this report makes an attack appear imminent, no other intelligence exists to corroborate this specific threat stream. This scenario represents just one of many possible methods of attack known to be considered by terrorist organizations.

Begin tear line:

1. (FOUO) Al Qaeda leaders plan to employ various types of fuel trucks as vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) in an effort to cause mass casualties in the US (and London), prior to 19 September. Attacks are planned specifically for New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. It is unclear whether the attacks will occur simultaneously or be spread over a period of time. The stated goal is the collapse of the US economy.
2. (FOUO) Some of the vehicles used will be hijacked. The type of vehicle may be anything from gasoline tanker trucks to trucks hauling oxygen and gas cylinders. Water trucks filled with gasoline or other highly combustible material may also be used. The detonation of the vehicles will be carried out by driving them into gas stations or ramming explosive-laden vehicles into the trucks carrying the fuel.
Page 1
Fuel Laden VBIED
3. (FOUO) The attackers will be members of small Al Qaeda cells which are spread throughout the US. The cell responsible for the specific attack will execute the plan upon receipt of an order.
4. (FOUO) It is possible that the tape recently released on television by Zawahiri was meant as the activation signal to the cells and not so much as an indictment to Bush or Blair.
End tear line:
In light of a potential VBIED threat in the US, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has disseminated bulletins incorporating the advantages for terrorists in using large, official looking vehicles, and suggested measures for owners and operators of facilities where large vehicles are housed.

Excerpts of FBI Bulletin #166, dated May 10, 2005 are included below:

VEHICLES AS VBIEDS

On January 12, 2005, DHS and the FBI published Joint Bulletin 162, titled "Terrorist Tactics: Analysis of the Surveillance Notes Concerning Certain U.S. Financial Buildings." This bulletin provides information on VBIED attacks using a limousine, to which security personnel provide some degree of deference, or in a service/delivery vehicle, because they do not attract unwanted attention. Exploding a device in an underground parking lot, VIP area, or near the main entrance or a support column were the main attack options offered in the notes. Terrorists have shown creativity in their VBIED platforms, ranging from tanker trucks (Khobar Towers in 1996) to rental trucks (World Trade Center in 1993). A delivery vehicle acquired through a legitimate source could provide the following advantages when deployed as a VBIED:
Heavy/large payload capacity.
Vehicle interior and contents are not visible.
Vehicle, due to its size, could ram security barriers.
Access to high value symbolic or economic targets.
Can fit in parking garages (based on the size of the vehicle).
Easy licensing procedures (based on the size and purpose of the vehicle).
Delivery vehicles can typically remain stationary for extended periods without drawing suspicion.
Public perception as a recognized entity (recognized company delivery van).
Rigging vehicle for VBIED use in privacy (e.g. at night, in a private garage after hours).
Page 2
Fuel Laden VBIED
POTENTIAL SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES
The Office of Homeland Security, in cooperation with the Upstate New York Regional Intelligence Center, encourages owners and operators of fuel depots, truck companies and gas stations to report any of the following activities to the UNYRIC Counter Terrorism Center at 1-866-SAFE-NYS.
Individuals videotaping or photographing premises for no apparent reason.
Suspicious individuals apparently surveilling delivery of fuel from tanker-trucks.
Inquiries regarding the frequency of fuel deliveries to your business.
Any information regarding the loss, theft or attempted theft of any tanks, vehicles, or driver's license credentials or licenses used in the transportation of bulk fuel to your station.
Theft of fuel or unexplained loss from your business inventory or tractor-trailer-tanker.
Customer requests to purchase unusual amounts of fuel, not typical of most transactions, or an unusual method of payment.
Unusual inquiries from strangers concerning how to store bulk fuel or handle it on premises.
SUGGESTED PROTECTIVE MEASURES
The following are the recommended general protective measures that apply to facilities with both controlled and uncontrolled access, and specific protective measures recommended for soft targets with controlled access.
General Protective Measures for Controlled and Uncontrolled Access:
Security personnel and private citizens should be advised to remain vigilant in ensuring that large vehicles of any kind in the vicinity of critical infrastructure facilities are viewed as a security risk until proven otherwise.
Ensure all personnel are provided periodic security briefings regarding present and emerging threats.
Specific Protective Measures for Soft Targets with Controlled Access:
Be alert to the necessity for thoroughly checking large vehicles of any kind attempting to gain access to controlled critical infrastructure facilities.
Review existing vehicle bombing prevention procedures to incorporate thwarting the use of a moving vehicle bomb, and consider adjusting buffer zones further from potential targets.
Page 3
Fuel Laden VBIED
Adjusting buffer zones further from potential targets.
Periodically rearrange exterior vehicle barriers, traffic cones and road blocks to alter traffic patterns near facilities.
Limit the number of access points and strictly enforce access control procedures.
Approach all illegally parked vehicles in and around facilities, question drivers and direct them to move immediately; if the owner cannot be identified, have vehicle towed by law enforcement.
Provide vehicle inspection training to security personnel, and institute a robust vehicle inspection program to include checking the undercarriage of vehicles, under the hood and in the trunk.
Deploy explosive detection devices and explosive detection canine teams.
Institute/increase security patrols varying in size, timing and routes.
Increase perimeter lighting and maintain/remove vegetation in and around perimeters.
Encourage personnel to be alert and to immediately report any situation that appears to constitute a threat or suspicious activity.
Guard force turnover and personnel authentication procedures.
Implement random security guard shift changes.
Deploy visible security cameras and motion sensors - review security camera footage daily to detect possible indicators of pre-operational surveillance.
As always, observance of suspicious individuals and activities, or any threats received should immediately be reported to the Upstate New York Regional Intelligence Center, Counter Terrorism Center, at 1866-SAFE-NYS.
Please treat this and all other communications from the Office of Homeland Security as SENSITIVE

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