4 mistakes of the security team protecting Mr. Abe

Japanese police deployed elite officers to protect former Prime Minister Abe, but a series of mistakes made them unable to stop the assassin.

The head of the Nara Prefectural Police Department on July 9 admitted “indisputable omissions” in the protection and safety measures for former Prime Minister Abe, who was assassinated while giving a speech in the province. This is 7/8. The Nara Police Department is committed to a thorough investigation to clarify what happened in the incident.

The main responsibility for Mr. Abe’s safety are the Security Police (SP) officers, the elite protection unit under the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and the local police force in Nara city. .

Japanese broadcaster NHK quoted sources as saying that the officers on duty on the street in front of the station in Nara that day did not notice the suspect’s suspicious behavior in the crowd, until the first shot rang out. up.

Through analysis of scene videos, security experts also pointed out a series of mistakes made by Abe’s security forces, saying that these flaws allowed suspect Tetsuya Yamagami to easily approach from behind and shoot him. two shots towards the former prime minister of Japan.

“The first mistake was Do not set up barriers to separate Mr. Abe with the crowd. This measure is sometimes not possible when key people want to be in public, but VIP speeches often need to be protected by physical barriers or bodyguards, to deter and prevent threats. potential threat,” US security expert Tom Rogan wrote in the newspaper Washington Examiner.

Eyewitnesses recount chaos at the scene where Mr. Abe was shot

The moment the suspect opened fire on former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Nara Prefecture on July 8. Video: Twitter/Handy Joe.

The second mistake is the commanding officer, the guard group manager, standing too far away from Mr. Abealthough this is the person responsible for shielding and evacuating the weak when attacked.

The other members of the bodyguard should also be close to the former prime minister to shield their surroundings. “If they did, they would have protected him from a fatal shot,” Rogan said.

During the 2016 US presidential campaign, Secret Service agents responded appropriately to surprise attacks on candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. When the protester rushed to the podium, the agents immediately split into two groups. The nearby group shielded the key with their bodies, while the other group prevented the approaching target.

The US Secret Service controlled the person who intended to attack billionaire Donald Trump

The US Secret Service controlled the person who tried to attack candidate Donald Trump during the May 2016 election event. Video: Reuters.

This tactic was built to block the line of sight from the attacker to the weak, while dealing with the risk that the first threat was just a distraction to stretch the bodyguards.

The third mistake of the security team protecting Mr. Abe was many of the bodyguard officers showed obvious hesitation. The suspect approached the former Japanese prime minister from behind, stood at a distance of 5 meters and fired the first shot. Mr. Abe now seemed to be unscathed, turning to look in the direction of the explosion, while the bodyguards also seemed startled. It was only when the suspect fired a second shot, knocking Mr. Abe to the ground, that the bodyguards rushed in to knock Yamagami down.

“The US Secret Service, the Diplomatic Security Service, and the bodyguards of the US Army Criminal Investigation Unit are highly trained to eliminate hesitation. They are trained to build muscle reflexes. This allows them to immediately respond to trained scenarios in the event of chaos, instead of standing still thinking about their next course of action,” Rogan said.

During the assassination of Mr. Abe, two bodyguards responded by jumping between the former prime minister and the gunman, but they acted alone.

“Two officers showed great courage when they rushed into the bullets, but only those two managed to stop the second bullet, as well as assist Mr. Abe after discovering him collapsed. At least 7 seconds. elapsed from the moment the suspect fired the first shot until the bodyguard approached him,” expert Rogan said, the bodyguards’ fourth mistake was act too slow.

Police control suspect Tetsuya Yamagami (gray shirt) at the scene.  Photo: AFP.

Police control suspect Tetsuya Yamagami (gray shirt) at the scene. Image: AFP.

In 1992, former US President Ronald Reagan was approached by a protester while attending an event in Las Vegas. The agents took four seconds to surround him, but the US Secret Service still considered this a serious security failure.

The incident also prompted changes in operating procedures to limit the approaches to the weak on stage, some agents also disguised to follow the protected person at all times.

When former President George W. Bush attended a baseball game in New York City shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a US Secret Service officer pretended to be a referee on the field to monitor the situation. In 2017, the commander of the secret service team protecting former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton posed as a teacher during her honorary degree ceremony in the UK. This measure allowed bodyguards to secretly follow Clinton on stage.

“The failure of the bodyguards in the assassination of Mr. Abe demonstrates the importance of maintaining security rules. A former US president can survive if faced with a similar situation. In this case, mistakes in just a few short seconds have gone down in history,” said expert Rogan.

Vu Anh (Theo Washington Examiner)

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