Overseas travel could be more dangerous following Bin Laden’s death.

While the U.S. (and other Nations) rejoices following the news of Bin Laden’s death, those about to embark on overseas travel, especially those holding U.S. passports, should exercise extreme caution.

Not only has the State Department issued travel alerts (http://www.emergencyemail.org/newsemergency/anmviewer.asp?a=1058&z=1 ), but a plethora of INTEL and Govt. types have also issued warnings concerning the need to be aware of the possibility of retaliatory attacks.   It is too simplistic to feel that Bin Laden’s demise will bring about the downfall of Al-Qaeda.  

Whilst it is true that the A.Q. organization will be “leaderless” until they can find a suitable replacement, this does not mean that they are not capable of inflicting serious casualties to “get back” at those who have denied them of their leader.  This can be looked upon as a type of “wounded animal” syndrome. 

Speaking on CNN’s “Piers Morgan” last night, former NYC Mayor, Rudy Giuliani said; “in the short term we are in more danger, but in the longer term, we will be safer”.  The question remains however; ”how long is “in the short term”?  I have an immediate vested interest in trying to understand the viewpoint of these grieving radicals, since I will be flying to a volatile part of Asia next week.

My advice is not to take chances with your safety.  If travel can not be avoided or postponed, focus intently on your own personal safety and on the safety of those you send overseas – whether employees or family members.  This reminds me of a call I received from a potential client last year. 

He and other staff members were going to Pakistan to form a joint venture involving a lucrative project for his company.  He was concerned for their safety and asked about bringing U.S. bodyguards on the trip.  The host company in Pakistan told him that they would provide the foreigners with local security.

Having worked around the world on many International assignments, I was experienced in how certain countries train their personnel.  I advised the potential new client to bring experienced U.S. security personnel as part of their team.  The busines owner was concerned that he might insult his new business partners if they discovered that they had brought their own security consultants. 

This is why it is important to find a highly experienced security consultant and LISTEN to what they tell you.  There are ways to include highly trained and experienced security personnel with your staff so that they blend in as engineers or legal assitants or whatever else may be your business.  What you should NEVER do, is to to compromise your safety or the safety of your employees.   

If something happens, what effect do you think it will have on your company’s reputation?  Ask yourself is it worth it.  Our advice to you is not to rely on local resources, but to bring those experts with you – either openly or covertly.  Remember that training standards in many other parts of the world are nowhere near the level that they are in the U.S.

How Private Investigators Interview to find “Bad Guys”

How many companies with security problems use their own internal resources to investigate employee theft, industrial espionage, etc. ?  I think the answer would probably be; “the majority”. 

HR Departments have traditionally been the ”go to” people within corporations to conduct interviews.  Proprietory security personnel have also been used for these tasks. My question is; “what specialized training or experience have these folks received that equips them for such roles? 

Having conducted interviews totalling in the thousands around the world, I can share with you that it takes many years and probably thousands of hours of interviewing to develop not only a certain comfort level, but the ability to be able to pick up on things like eye movement, breathing, body shifting, hesitation, etc. 

What experienced investigators know is that simply talking to a person and taking notes is not enough.  The interview process begins way before that.  A good investigator will conduct research and prepare questions before the interview ever begins.  They know that there are a number of important factors to consider, such as planning on where the interviewee will sit.  Have you previously considered this?

Some other questions to consider are; “do I know the right questions to ask?”, ”what are the signs of stress?”, “how can I make a person tell me what I need to know?”, “how do I follow-up?”.  Unfortunately, you won’t find all the answers you need in a blog or a book.  It takes time, training and putting that training into practice. 

Corporations should not feel like they have to “do it all”.  In-house security personnel may be quite capable of taking care of many of the day-t0-day security tasks that arise, but they probably should not be asked to conduct investigations involving employee theft, sexual harrassment, workman’s comp, fraud cases etc., where extensive interviewing is needed. 

Credentialed and experienced professionals can not only save a company millions of dollars in lost revenue and or litigation/law suits, but protect their reputation from being tarnished and damaged.  The question then becomes; “what value do you put on your reputation?”. 

Kidnap Expert Becomes Kidnap Victim

In last Thursday’s New York Times, Marc Lacey wrote about an interesting incident which took place in Mexico recently.

Back on Dec. 10, an American, Mr. Felix Batista was abducted outside of El Meson restaurant in Saltilo, Mexico. What makes this particular kidnapping remarkable is the fact that the victim was himself, a security consultant specializing in resolving kidnappings.

There have been many kidnappings at popular restaurants in recent times. If a person frequents a restaurant regularly, it is only a matter of waiting until they return. Even the waiting/surveillance can be easily outsourced for a few dollars.

It is ironic that prior to being kidnapped, Mr. Batista had addressed a gathering of prominent entrepreneurs on steps to take to avoid being kidnapped. One wonders if this was a case of; “do as I say, not as I do”, or were other factors involved?

Mr. Batista was the third anti-kidnapping expert to have been abducted in Coahuila State. During his security seminar down there he informed the attendees that kidnappers generally avoided foreigners. Perhaps he became careless thinking he himself was safe as a foreigner.

Be careful about dropping your guard, especially in high-threat areas like Mexico. Do not become overly confident or complacent. Never think that it “couldn’t happen to me”, because you may just be the next victim.