The Manchurian responder? how military and federal government practices can help state and local public safety agencies prevent malicious insider attacks
McGovern, Ryan J.
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A treacherous police officer or firefighter has the training, access, and expertise to cause numerous casualties among his or her colleagues and the public at large. In response to this threat, state and local public safety agencies may be greatly overestimating the ability of current pre-employment screening procedures to prevent radicalized individuals from infiltrating their ranks. Principally, psychological exams are insufficient to screen out terrorists because terrorists are ideologically, rather than psychopathically, motivated. Simply put, terrorists are sane, rational actors seeking to correct a grievance. However, this thesis reveals that the greater risk lies not with infiltrators, but with existing members of the agency who become radicalized. Consequently, this thesis focuses on how an agency should protect itself against this form of insider threat. Organizations should implement stricter and more in-depth screening of individuals seeking positions in police or fire departments, educate existing members on the signs of radicalization, and provide a clear reporting mechanism that culminates in appropriate investigative procedures and mitigation strategies to prevent a terrorist plot. To protect American lives, police and fire departments must consider the legitimate risk of a radicalized first responder developing within their ranks before a malicious plot materializes.
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