Sunday, February 10, 2013

Threat Assessment: Red Cell (Christopher Dorner)

I'd call this situation fascinating if people weren't dying.  The Dorner situation provides an examination of the risks presented by malicious insiders.  Dorner seems to be a case-study example of the types of threats modeled by Marcinko with his Red Cell antics.  Since he's been on the loose for 48 hours, it seemed worth a look...

Note: I am not an expert, or a shrink, or anything.  Just throwing ideas out there.

Info below based on a reading of the manifesto.

Subject has demonstrated a willingness and ability to attack and evade. Given the time available to plan this scenario, it is reasonable to expect the subject has multiple safe-houses available.  Subject will probably employ operational tactics that go beyond simple firearm attacks.

[Counter Tactics]
Given the high level of training and education displayed, specifically the repeated references to effective TTP of adversarial forces, it is reasonable to expect that the subject will employ proactive tactics to maximize his ability to both successfully strike and evade capture. Examples include diversion and subterfuge used in support of primary mission execution, secondary attacks to demoralize operational LEO assets, and tactics that create resource/asset drag on operational LEO assets.

It is reasonable to expect the subject continues to actively employ signals and cyber technologies to perform ISR.  Wherever possible, communication via secure technologies should be employed in order to prevent eavesdropping.

[Current Location]
Until the subject is located or attacks again, it must remain a possibility that he has left the LA area, although this seems unlikely.

While rural locations offer many advantages, and the subject is likely at home in outdoor environments in all weather conditions, there are significant disadvantages to rural locations, such as the inability to avoid observation or scrutiny while traveling quickly.

Hiding in plain sight in a dense urban environment may offer significant advantages, such as access to resources and multiple forms of transit.  Subject is likely to employ disguises to minimize chances for recognition.

[Key Observations]
It seems likely that the subject has ongoing access to local LE and federal cyber resources.  Particular attention should be paid to valid logins coming from the SOCAL area that have collisions with other valid login timings and operating patterns.

Due to the physical size of the subject, he may choose to move primarily at night to minimize observation.

Expect trickery and subterfuge.  The subject believes himself to be in control of the situation, and will attempt to lead LE assets astray to continue operating towards his primary objective.  Don't be too quick to follow obvious paths with all available resources when capture seems likely or imminent.

Expect subject to be armed at all times, possibly with a silenced weapon.  The subject will be dressed in a style that supports a holstered concealed weapon.

[A Note to the Subject]
Don't kill me, bro.  ;)  You laid out that whole "don't even bother to profile me" thing, as if it were impossible.  In your report, you make it clear that your anger is specifically directed at LAPD for taking everything you had.  Unfortunately you're utilizing federal training to take your revenge, so you're betraying the oaths you've taken.  Your mom was correct, sometimes bad things happen to good people.  You are driven to this to regain your name, so the only path forward is to use your skills to escape and evade and build a new life.  You can only destroy with violence, it won't let you build a better reality within LAPD, like you hope it will...

More Modern Governing

I'd been sitting on this post for a bit, and then unfortunately this happened and became a thing...

According to reliable sources, Swartz was driven to abandon hope for his future when he acted like an activist and broke some laws, and was facing 35 years in prison.

In my opinion, this tragic outcome is just another sign of how our government is failing to keep pace with the realities of technology in the modern world.

We have a system where re-elected prosecutors worry about looking soft on virtually any category of crime, and hesitate to make reasonable deals to allow citizens who briefly lose their way to repay a debt to society and move on with a life that is generally unblemished in the eyes of the law.

When convicted of any felony in the US, some of which area easy to accidentally do, one faces a lifetime of punishment.  Abandon all hope of future employment for those who wear the scarlet "F".  And more and more, even misdemeanor convictions can haunt you.

Similarly, a drunken poor decision to urinate behind a bush can brand you as a convicted sex offender for the rest of your days.

We drive people to undesirable outcomes when we ruin the hopes they place on their future lives.  The reason the phrase "paid his debt to society exists" embraces the concept that we want those who lose their way to be able to regain the good path.

And the joke of it is that there is a real problem with digital law breaking in the modern age.  Credit-card and other information theft is generally trivial to accomplish, and there are plenty of people out there living it up with money coming out of the credit card companies and small businesses (who eat costs sometimes).  And the fact is that these people face limited risk of being caught and punished despite repeated or massive abuse.

So when we catch an activist who is clearly not in it for the money, we throw the book at someone who helped create the digital world we love.

The part that is hardest to swallow is that when it comes to generating revenue, it appears that government is all about embracing a new technical world.  My local PD and govt employ automagic ticket writing cameras that must be reaping dividends when they're hitting people for $100+ for every failure to fully stop on a red for a right turn...

And recently I snagged this pic of what appears to be an auto-license plate scanner on a local PD cruiser:

I assume this will make ticketing easier for a variety of infractions.

The executive and judicial branches embrace technology when it comes to putting your embarassing life details on the internet as well.  For years now people on the interwebz have been lulzing at funny mugshots.  Criminal databases are often public, and some states put all court cases online so everyone can know things you might otherwise consider private.

And yet, when it comes time to "re-elect" judges it seems like there is no concept of openness.  It seems rare to find any transparency of why a given decision is made, so you end up with internet articles full of raging outbursts about why someone should've been punished more, or how on earth could someone like this get off so lightly?!?  if a judge is serving in a public capacity, and if my mistakes are open to the world at large, why shouldn't everyone be allowed to access the information behind judicial decisions and outcomes?

There are a lot of areas where technology could have significant impacts on pursuing justice.  For example, it seems likely that cell-phones could be programmed to automatically capture information and contact authorities when they detect gunshots and/or screams via integrated microphones.  This could probably be done in software with checks and balances, and reduction of false-positives (ie: movies).  Some people might consider that an invasion of privacy, while others might point out that it could save lives.

There are a lot of opportunities and choices ahead for all of us in this space...  it's a shame Aaron won't be around to help us build the future.  In my opinion, he should've been fined and placed on probation and allowed to live his life.