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    Terrorism: Crisis situation with hostages

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    In a crisis situation involving terrorists with hostages, what would you do if the terrorists demanded access to the media in order to negotiate or communicate a message(s) to the public? What are some of the issues to consider?

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    https://brainmass.com/law/criminal-law-and-justice/terrorism-crisis-situatio-hostages-86357

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    1. In a crisis situation involving terrorists with hostages, what would you do if the terrorists demanded access to the media in order to negotiate or communicate a message(s) to the public? What are some of the issues to consider?

    One question frequently asked by police officers during training sessions is, ``How would you negotiate differently during a terrorist incident?'' Once the distinction is made between kidnapping (where the location of subject and victim are typically unknown) and hostage taking (where the subject and victim are contained within a police perimeter), officers are surprised (or perhaps disappointed) to hear the answer. Basically, negotiation strategies and tactics for terrorist incidents are identical to those that would be used during any hostage or barricade incident, regardless of the political or religious backgrounds of the subjects. (1)
    Simply stated, there are a finite number of strategies (and particular tactics to support each of those strategies) to choose from when negotiating with hostage takers that are contained and isolated. The fact that a particular group of subjects puts forth political or religious reasons for taking hostages does not call into play a conceptually different set of strategies. The negotiation team assesses the motives, demands, and behaviors of these hostage takers and makes recommendations to the on-scene commander as to the most appropriate strategy, drawn from the same set of possibilities as in any other hostage incident. (1)
    In general, you would need to consider who is responsible for responding? Who will negotiate? Who will assault? Do any of our current tactical protocols effectively address the situation? Borelli (2006) addresses each in this order.

    1) Terrorism is a crime in the United States. Since it is a crime, law enforcement personnel will have to deal with it. Posse Comitatus explicitly prohibits the use of soldiers to affect an arrest, and even though arrest may not be on anyone's mind, all politicians will have to maintain a civil facade. Any terrorist that wants to surrender will have to be arrested and not executed. Let's just hope they aren't wrapped in explosives as they come out with their hands up, chanting to Allah before blowing themselves and anyone nearby into smithereens. So, it will be law enforcement that responds. Eventually the FBI will get on scene and take over. How long will that take? And how much longer will it be before a sufficient number of FBI HRT members are on hand to mount an assault? LONGER THAN WE CAN AFFORD PERHAPS... AND SHOULD THEY ALLOW THE MEDIA COVERAGE AS ONE POTENTIAL TACTIC?

    2) Initially a local representative will negotiate. When the FBI arrives and assumes command, an FBI agent will negotiate. Here in the United States we have a general rule of thumb: the longer we negotiate the better our chances are for a peaceful conclusion. We have time on our side. With "normal" criminals that's true. With terrorists, negotiation only provides time for more media to arrive while the terrorists fortify their positions inside the structure.

    3) It's easy to think that the FBI HRT members will make any necessary assault. I'm not sure there are enough of them though. A standard rule of infantry is that it takes personnel numbering 3-to-1 (good guys to bad guys / assaulters to terrorists) to overwhelm a NON-entrenched enemy. If you give the enemy time to fortify their position, it takes closer to 9 or 10-to-1. Okay: so using that 15 terrorist scenario, we need about 150 FBI HRT guys on ready stand by to do the assault. Let's not forget: we also need 150 FBI HRT agents planning and training for the assault. Oh, and we have another 150 FBI HRT agents getting some down time - they have to sleep too. So that's a total of 450 FBI HRT agents. Is there that many? That's just assault troops, too. What about inner and outer perimeter? What about crowd control? What about counter-snipers?

    4) Do any of our current tactical protocols effectively address the situation? Right now we deliver, on a fairly regular basis, training that DOES adequately address the two-student-shooters model of Columbine High School. I don't believe our current training is even ...

    Solution Summary

    In a crisis situation involving terrorists with hostages, this solution explains what a person would do if the terrorists demanded access to the media in order to negotiate or communicate a message(s) to the public. It also discusses some of the issues to consider.

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