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Terrorist Surveillance Techniques for Predicting and Identifying Terrorist Activities

Table of Contents
  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Overview of the Author’s Position
  4. Assessment of Significant Facts
  5. Conclusion
  6. References


The description of terrorist surveillance techniques and those who execute them is the purpose of this paper. The chapter from the book by Nance (2013) will be used as a rationale for analysis. Also, the types of surveillance will be determined to prevent potential terrorist attacks and disclose extremists’ plans and techniques timely. Additional academic sources will be used to confirm certain arguments and ideas and to reveal the issue under consideration. Conclusions will be made based on analysis to describe a possible terrorist threat in the form of surveillance.

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The threat of terrorist acts is relevant and significant. Extremists use not only the methods of open attacks but also secretive preparatory work in the form of surveillance. The chapter from the book by Nance (2013) will be used as an argumentative base containing useful information on the issue under consideration. To identify growing danger timely and suppress terrorists’ attempts to plan their actions, it is essential to be guided by what surveillance methods exist, what can become the object of extremists’ interest, and who are the stakeholders of this process.

Overview of the Author’s Position

To have an idea of the specifics of surveillance, it is necessary to consider stakeholders involved in this process. According to Nance (2013), terrorist groups, criminals, “foreign government intelligence services,” and “homeland security and law enforcement agencies” are potential participants in shadowing (p. 168). Similar ideas are mentioned by Deflem and McDonough (2015) who pay attention to the special importance of surveillance after the attack on the New York shopping center in 2001.

An important role is played by the type of shadow. Nance (2013) argues that there are two categories of surveillance – overt and discreet. As the example of the first type, suspicious people with binoculars observing a particular object or a group of people are mentioned (Nance, 2013). Discreet surveillance implies the absence of external signs of threat and is often carried out by ordinary men or women. The task of law enforcement agencies is to monitor territories entrusted to them and to identify potential extremists timely.

Assessment of Significant Facts

One of the important topics raised in the methods of observation and surveillance. Nance (2013) gives examples of various tools used by terrorists. Xu, Duan, and Zhang (2017) also mention this theme and focus on wireless devices that are effective and inconspicuous. Susar and Dongare (2016) pay attention to specific ways to combat such methods and emphasize countermeasures aimed at preventing the threat of surveillance. The issue raised by all authors is of great importance in the context of constant tension caused by people’s concern about the threat of terrorist acts. The ability to distinguish dangerous extremists and eliminate danger correctly is a necessity but not one of the attendant goals of law enforcement agencies.


A successful fight against terrorism implies the timely identification of observers among extremists and methods they use. Stakeholders may be different, and they all use distinctive surveillance techniques. Evidence from academic literature confirms the relevance of the topic under consideration and the need for emergency measures. The task of law enforcement agencies involves the need to recognize both overt and discreet surveillance to prevent danger and the potential threat of a terrorist act.


Deflem, M., & McDonough, S. (2015). The fear of counterterrorism: Surveillance and civil liberties since 9/11. Society, 52(1), 70-79. 

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Nance, M. W. (2013). Terrorist recognition handbook: A practitioner’s manual for predicting and identifying terrorist activities (3rd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Susar, R., & Dongare, M. P. (2016). Various surveillance techniques, a concise review. International Journal of Advanced Research, 4(1), 446-452.

Xu, J., Duan, L., & Zhang, R. (2017). Surveillance and intervention of infrastructure-free mobile communications: A new wireless security paradigm. IEEE Wireless Communications, 24(4), 152-159. Web.

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