The Counterterrorism Handbook: Tactics, Procedures, and Techniques, Fourth Edition, 4th Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Counterterrorism Handbook

Tactics, Procedures, and Techniques, Fourth Edition, 4th Edition

By Frank Bolz, Jr., Kenneth J. Dudonis, David P. Schulz

CRC Press

529 pages | 44 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781439846704
pub: 2011-07-26
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Terrorists constantly present new challenges to law enforcement, emergency response teams, security planners, and others involved in counterterrorism. Since the last edition of this volume was published, additional atrocities have occurred and new threats have surfaced. The fourth edition of The Counterterrorism Handbook: Tactics, Procedures, and Techniques provides the latest developments and offers new insights on the War on Terror.

Updated to reflect an increased focus on terrorism in public transportation, this volume provides an understanding of the strategies, tactics, and techniques required to tackle terrorism as it exists today. It illustrates essential topics such as the elements common to all terrorism, bomb threats, risk assessment, hostages, and weapons of mass destruction. It also presents case studies of some of the most notorious terrorist incidents, including both World Trade Center attacks, Oklahoma City, Centennial Olympic Park, the U.S. Embassy, the U.S.S. Cole, and attacks in Madrid, London, and Glasgow.

The only way to effectively deal with terrorism is to have a thorough understanding of its present-day characteristics — who is involved and what weapons and tactics they are likely to use. In language friendly to first responders, this volume presents a comprehensive strategy of how to deal with a whole gamut of possible terrorist incidents. Covering everything from bombings and hostage-taking to nuclear terrorism, the book describes in specific detail what needs to be done before, during, and after an event. Armed with this information, those charged with protecting the public will be better equipped to face myriad threats.


"This book is a must read for anyone involved in leadership positions at all levels of federal, state, or local governments or private organizations involved in the support of War on Terror operations."

—Paul E. Vallely, MG, US Army (Retired); Fox News Channel Military Analyst

"A comprehensive account of the nature and magnitude of the origins, causes, aims, tactics, weapons and tactics of terrorism and the strategies and techniques required for effective counterterrorism, such as establishing command and control, intelligence mechanisms (e.g., surveillance), managing bombing and hostage-taking incidents, and interviewing victims. The authors are veteran homeland security and law enforcement practitioners, making this an indispensable and authoritative reference resource for those involved in counterterrorism, whether in public safety or analytic communities."

—Joshua Sinai, Perspectives on Terrorism

Table of Contents

Terrorism: An Overview

New Game

Global War on Terrorism

Meaning of Terrorism

What Is Terrorism?

Brief History of Terrorism

Terrorism in the United Kingdom

Modern Terrorist Groups

Terrorism as a Political Statement

The Nature of Terrorism

Characteristics of Terrorism

Financial Terrorism

Terrorist Actions

Other Terrorist Actions

Intimidation and Threats

Disinformation and Propaganda


Common Elements of Terrorism

Purpose of Terrorism

Modern Terrorist Groups

Why Terrorists Succeed




Democratic Legal System

Access to Arms

Vulnerability of Targets

Counterterrorist Response

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Role of the Military

Homeland Defense

Implementation of Homeland Security

Organizing Homeland Security

Border and Transportation Security

Emergency Preparedness and Response

Science and Technology

Information and Infrastructure Protection

Task Force Initiatives

Local Law Enforcement Capabilities

Local Significance

Private Sector Cooperation

Terror Defense Planning

Introduction to Risk Assessment

Security Advisory System

Structuring a Preincident Plan

Information Gathering


Target Profiles


Target Analysis



Terrorist Tactics

The Suburban Threat

Risk Analysis

Risk Avoidance

Hostage/Kidnap Defense

Bomb Defense Planning

Bomb Incidents

The Bomb Threat

Rationale of Bomb Threats

A Note of Warning

Warning or Hoax?

Taking a Bomb Threat Call

Bomb Threat Decision Making

Evacuation Options

Evacuation Procedure Overview

Putting Out the Message

Planning Issues

Bomb Threats and the Police

The Bomb: Terrorist Weapon of Choice

Types of Bombers

Motivation of Bombers

Hostage Situations

A Rare Occurrence

Who Takes Hostages?

Panic Reaction

Suicide by Cop

Why Hostages Are Taken

The Magic Triangle

Munich, 1972


Killing on Deadline


Responsibilities of the First Responding Officers

The Mobilization Point

Location of the Mobilization Point

Decision Makers


Keeping Track of People

Start Intelligence Gathering

Inner Perimeter

Tactical Units


First Response Review



Kidnapping as a Weapon

Risks Involved

Differences between Hostage Taking and Kidnapping

Uses of Kidnapping

Types of Kidnappers

Post-Cold War Political Kidnapping

Domestic Spousal Confrontation/Emotionally Disturbed


During and after the U.S. Operation in Iraq

Private Industry’s Role

The Police Role

Police Response to Residence or Workplace of Victim

Response to the Kidnap/Extortion Threat

"Do Not Contact the Police"



Prevention Tactics

What the Individual Can Do

Journalists Do Not Have Exemptions

What the Family Can Do

One Man’s Ordeal

What the Corporation Can Do

On Becoming a Victim

Terrorism on Public Transportation

Dorothy Moses Schulz


Where Are Terrorists Likely to Strike?

Transit as a Target—Vulnerable and Attractive

Overlapping Jurisdictions Complicate Response Efforts

A Brief Case Study—Virginia Metro Incident

Terrorists and Criminals Ride the Rails

Freight Trains Are Also Targets

International Rail Transit Terrorism

Chechen Separatists Target the Moscow Subway System

Gas and Arson Attacks

Buses—Mobile Explosives and Hostage Sites

Waterborne Terrorism

Attacks and Hijackings

Piracy—Updating an Old Crime to New Purposes


Weapons of Mass Destruction

A Long History

Definition of Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Threat Today

Aum Shinrikyo Incident

U.S. Anthrax Attack

Chemical and Biological Agents

Transmission of Infectious Agents

Chemical Agents

Common Nerve Agents

Blood Agents

Blister (Mustard) Agents

Choking/Lung/Pulmonary Agents

Riot Control

Common Terms Associated with Biological Agents

Common Biological Agents: Class A

Common Biological Agents: Class B

Common Biological Agents: Class C

Other Biological Agents

Nuclear Weapons

Response to a WMD Incident

First Responders

Federal Assistance

Local Initiatives

Protective Gear Requirements for WMD Response

Domestic Terrorism

Leaderless Groups and Lone Wolves


Discovery Channel Hostages

Other Ecoterror Groups

Animal Rights Groups

Animal Liberation Front

Food Fights

ALF Lone Wolf

Islamic Lone Wolves

Abortion Clinic Violence


Contemporary Homegrown Islamic Terrorists

Non-Islamic Homegrown Contemporary Terrorists

Early Homegrown Terrorists

Using America as a Battleground

Bomb Searches


General Concepts

Building Searches

Exterior Searches

Interior Searches

Search Teams

Setting Up a Program

Alternative to Search Teams

Mechanics of the Search

Room Search

Common Bomb Placement Locations


Vehicle Search

Antipersonnel Car Bombs

Vehicle-Borne Explosive Devices

Aircraft Searches

Preincident Executive Search

Explosive Detection Canines

Suspected Packages

Energetic Materials and Explosive Devices

Energetic Materials

Explosives Defined

Types of High Explosives

Identifying Improvised Explosive Devices

Firing Train

Initiation Systems

IED Packaging

Characteristics of Military Ordnance

Hostage Incidents

What Is Involved

Communicating with the Hostage Taker

The Making of a Hostage Incident

The Announcement

Reaction of Law Enforcement Professionals

The Application of Time

Criminal Role

Police Role


Evacuation and Intelligence

Advances in Technology in Gathering Intelligence

Why Police Do the Negotiating

Postincident Crisis Intervention Teams

Controlling the Environment

Dynamics of Hostage Negotiation

Gathering Intelligence of the Hostage Taker

Words and Phrases

A Note on Weapons

Saying No

The Art of Negotiation

Courses of Action


The Surrender and Suicide Ritual

Thought Interruption

Never Take a Weapon from the Hand of a Surrendering


Special Qualifications

Certification of Hostage Negotiators

Transportation Terrorism Countermeasures

Dorothy Moses Schulz


Tabletop Exercises


Public Information and Outreach

Employee Information, Outreach, and Training

Emergency Responder Information, Outreach, and Training

Patrol by Uniformed and Plainclothes Police/Security Officers

Behavioral Recognition

Canine Teams

Passenger and Baggage Screening

Surveillance Technology

Redesigning and Minimizing Station Furniture

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)

Protecting America’s Ports

Deterring Piracy

Postblast Environment

Getting Back to Normal

The Incident

Types of Explosions

First Responders

Search and Rescue Phase

Command Post Operations


Blast Damage

Types of Building Collapses

SAR Marking Systems

Exterior Marking

Investigative Phase

Search Equipment

Establishing the Parameters of the Investigation

Preliminary Actions

Seat of the Explosion

Gathering Physical Evidence

Examining Fragments

Evidence Recovery

Physical Evidence

Postblast Investigative Process

Mini Case Studies

Hostage/Kidnapping Aftermath

The Dangers Involved

The Immediate Reaction of Victims

Long-Term Reactions

The Family

Police Handling of the Incident

The Stockholm Syndrome


When an Incident May End in the Use of Deadly

Physical Force

Ransom: To Pay or Not to Pay?

Making the Payoff

The Recovery


Historical Background

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Courses of Action

Immediate Postincident Reaction

Longer-Term Reaction

Returning to Normal

Postincident Effects on Rescue Officers

Surviving Hostage-Taking Situations

Follow Instructions

Try to Rest

Escape? Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Be Observant

Don’t Be Argumentative

Be Patient

Get Rid of Items That Single You Out

Interviewing Victims

Frank Ochberg

Intrusive Recollections

Emotional Anesthesia: Constricting Life Activity

Lowered Threshold for Anxiety and Arousal

PTSD Is Not Always the Same

Who Gets PTSD?

Other Difficulties

A Guide to Interviewing


Setting the Stage

Eliciting Emotion

Informed Consent

Stages of Response

The Humanitarian Role of the Investigator

Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder

Role of the Commander

Who’s in Charge?

Preincident: Developing Guidelines

Makeup of the Team

Maintenance of Manpower and Equipment

Keeping Up-to-Date on New Developments and Strategies

Evaluate and Update

Liaisons with Other Agencies

During the Incident: Intelligence Gathering

Evaluate Alternatives


Chemical Agents


Alcohol and Drugs

Contain and Negotiate

Impact of the Events on the Public

Postincident Debriefing

Formal Debriefing

Evaluate New Developments and Outcomes

Case History: Russian Theater Takeover

Panic Reaction


Negotiations at the Theater

Tactical Preparations


Chemical Agents

Rescue/Dynamic Entry

Russian Hostage Litigation

Theater Reopens

Continued Terrorism

The Command Post

The Nerve Center

Forward Command Post

Mobilization Point

Point of Negotiation

Staffing the Command Post

Bomb Incident Command Post

Log and Situation Map

Equipment and Supplies


Concealment vs. Cover

Handling the Media

Counterterrorism Command Center

Appendix A: Government-Sponsored Terrorism

Appendix B: Foreign Terrorist Organizations


About the Series

Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Security / General
LAW / Forensic Science
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism