iwatch

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- "I wish to defect from the United States. I wish to join al-Qaida, train its members and conduct terrorist attacks," Amir Abdul Rashid allegedly said while under surveillance days before he was arrested in 2004.

He wasn't a part of a terrorist cell hiding in the shadows; officially he wasn't a terrorist and before 1999; he wasn't even Amir Abdul Rashid. Before he converted to Islam, he was Pfc. Ryan Anderson, an Everett native and Washington National Guardsman.

He was apprehended by FBI agents and U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command personnel while in uniform at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Anderson's story and others were only part of the "Insider Threat Awareness" briefing, part of annual security training for Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and contractors at Carey Theater at Lewis Main, Sept. 20.

The training, facilitated by JBLM's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, is normally offered on the third Tuesday of every month to help installation personnel meet annual DA training requirements.

Carey was almost filled to capacity as Martin Britt, who works for DPTMS' Security Education Awareness Training Branch, kicked off the session with a security-knowledge version of the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

He touched on the proper handling of classified materials and their secure transfer, stressing that 50 to 90 percent of intelligence acquired by America's adversaries is "open source," meaning it was acquired through public means and analyzed for actionable intelligence.

Special Agent Brock Phillips, from Lewis-McChord's field office of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, headed a session on the Army's Threat Awareness and Reporting Program (formerly the Army's SAEDA program) and an Insider Threat Awareness briefing. The latter, which is relatively new training for the Army, went into detail about individuals within government organizations who could be motivated, for ideological or personal reasons, to intentionally cause harm or hinder the mission.
"Since 9/11, people focus on the threat of foreign terrorism, and they have lost sight that any Soldier or person in their organization could get disgruntled or angry on the job and become a threat," Phillips said.
He said he doesn't think the general military population feels fully comfortable in reporting suspicious activity yet, but he sees that reticence changing.

"With more examples of insiders becoming threats, I think people are realizing that the 'it's not my business' attitude isn't helping," Phillips said. "It is our business; people are asking questions and reporting more."

Specialist Riley Tindle, a Soldier from Charlie Battery, 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, attended with others from his unit and said DPTMS's efforts were appreciated, and the training would stick with him.

"The message was very important," Tindle said, "These days, such as the instance with Maj. (Nidal) Hasaan, there's always a chance of an insider threat. The Army offers a lot of high-level training so if people want to change their ideologies and use their knowledge to harm (Soldiers), it could possibly happen."

In the Army for nearly three years, he said he and his junior enlisted peers have become more comfortable in knowing they "don't have to be counterintelligence experts to know when something looks suspicious. Tindle believes in the Army iWATCH slogan says, "See something, say something."
"In my unit it's very promotive that you can and should say something," he said. "It's encouraged."

Britt said in the two years he's given this training at JBLM, the sophistication level and situational awareness of Soldiers and civilians of all ranks have continually progressed. He based his perception on his own observations during training as well as feedback from security managers.

"I think that's because of excellent security program management at the organizational level, the directorate level, as well as from within the different entities at Joint Base Lewis-McChord," Britt said. "We have over 400 security managers on the installation serving a client base of over 54,000 Soldiers, contractors and civilians; we push for good security awareness programs and education for all of them.

Britt said the training is important whether Soldiers and employees routinely use classified material or not; they might need it in future.

David Poe: david.e.poe@us.army.mil

Page last updated Thu September 29th, 2011 at 00:00