A Lesson in Stealth – Some Kid Vs. One World Trade Center

teen sneaks into one world trade centerNote: The information below refers to a recent event and therefore details or facts may change over time.

It’s laughable but not at all surprising.

A 16-year-old kid weasels his way to the top of One World Trade Center.  This tower is not yet open to the public, and it makes for an enormous playground.

Immediate takeaway –  no one is expecting a 16-year-old lone wolf to infiltrate a “high security” sky-scraper, especially one with 9/11 implications.

The sheer size of this building presents a great challenge for any security team, especially against someone working alone.

If you are not intentionally looking for one skinny, monkey-like, determined teenager in a 1776 foot superstructure, your chances of stopping him drop off significantly.

Slithering, conniving, and apparently even lying his way in, a young boy proves that a top form lone wolf is the most difficult of all “threats” to stop.

To the debriefing room…

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.

~ Sun Tzu

The Kid Obviously Did Some Recon

According to the NYDailyNews, “Justin Casquejo, 16, and his pals, who are part of a stunt-loving group of youth who call themselves “Team Destiny,” had probed the security of the 1,776-foot-tall skyscraper on three occasions in hopes of slipping inside…”

Whether it takes 10 minutes or 3 weeks, effective recon can reveal flaws in security and/or an exploitable perimeter. If a guard force doesn’t realize they are being watched, they won’t make an effort to cover their tracks or change it up.

If no one was aware of this kid, or knew of an exploitable entrance, we have a game.

Information.  Information.  Information.

There Actually Was a Way In

A tiny hole in a fence.  The same way a stray cat gets into your yard. You either know it’s there, or you don’t.

There were signs that said “Do Not Enter” and “No Trespassing.”

An inanimate object with paint on it does nothing to deter a determined sneak.

He Made His Own Way Up

This half-monkey kid climbed scaffolding to the 6th floor.  Again, if you aren’t actively looking for this, you are reducing your chances to stop it.

But what are you going to do? Assign someone to watch the scaffolding?

Place cameras on the scaffolding? Someone still has to be watching through said cameras. Recording film doesn’t matter when the assault is happening now.

Up and up he goes…but why climb 82 floors, when you can take an elevator?

A Friggin’ Kid Convinces The Elevator Operator to Let Him In

If you don’t realize that you can always talk your way in, this will come as a shock.

From Floor 88 to 104 by Steps

Clunk clunk clunk clunk…

Sleeping Beauty

The security guard, not expecting a half-monkey teen stealth mission, was asleep.

The all time classic, the cliché of all clichés.  Boredom can overwhelm at the most inconvenient of times.  A face-palming, head-scratching moment of stupidity that could’ve resulted in catastrophe if the lone wolf was someone willing to do harm.

Again, I ask you.  Was anyone actively looking for 16-year-old acrobatic ninja teens?

Did anyone check the perimeter for stray cat type holes?

The answer is almost certainly “no.”

Lone wolf attacks are often “suicidal” but are extremely deadly thanks to their covertness if executed properly.

Carlos Hathcock‘s lone wolf sniper strike on an NVA General in Vietnam is the perfect example.

The critically acclaimed Metal Gear video game series is almost primarily based around a super solider’s ability to perform suicidal stealth missions.

I’m not suggesting that this teen’s actions are in the same vein as a legendary Vietnam war hero, nor am I implying that this is nothing more than a “video game” stunt.

I argue that this incident proves that it is far more difficult to stop one determined and skilled individual than what could perhaps be an entire team working together.

If a teen sneaks into One World Trade Center and gets away with it, imagine what a trained professional can accomplish.

The only way to stop an effective lone wolf is with absolute awareness.  If you don’t see it coming, it’s already too late.

Someone, or something, needs to know all or damn near close to it. Is it possible to know all?

No man can be in all rooms at all times…

~ Varys, Game of Thrones

8 Comments


  1. It is so true no security can stop a determined person. The misconception that having security all over this country is going to combat terrorism or anything illegal is just a facade to make you feel safer but in reality they know that they cannot be everywhere at the same time.

    Just look at the Illegal narcotics trade! Over 20 something years of combating this menace FBI, DEA, CIA, ATF and yet the narcotics trade still makes millions of dollars. This is just one of the many things that go on under their noses and nothing is being done.

    Even if they did have the security, do you know how much money they would have to pay to keep a security detail in the property? The cost would be very high and the sight of men with guns will make people nervous. I’m sure they just got some $7.00 dollar an hour security guards watching the area and they call that security! when in reality when the shit hits the fan or someone breaks in their ineptness and untrained personnel will fail miserably as they are only in this to collect a check.

    Like i said no security could prevent a person with knowledge of the area from doing what that kid did. I know if i were in charge of handling security there i would be looking for another job right away! 🙂

    A determined man could move mountains to reach his goal!

    Great Post Bro!

    Reply

    1. Very well said. The drug war is absurdly wasteful and poorly thought out simply for the fact that you can’t stop that many people from getting what they want.

      Marijuana prohibition alone has a vile trail of scumbaggery, and was a crime perpetrated by Harry Anslinger and William Randolph Hearst, among others.

      Reply

      1. You also have to realize that sometimes those very same people who are supposed to protect you are the same ones doing the crime!

        Reply

  2. Scary indeed. Shows where our priorities truly are. All security measures can ultimately be boiled down to what as known as “the illusion of safety” – just ask the TSA officials who, just the other day, confiscated my mini-shampoo and then sold me a souvenir Swiss army knife once inside the gate before boarding the aircraft. – Fun times we’re livin’ in hey?

    Reply

    1. I literally always think to myself that there are probably dozens of ways to create a weapon once inside the gate. But maybe that’s just my suspicious mind at work…

      Reply

  3. Interesting post. The lone wolf kid did in fact get by security, as did a team of older dudes looking to do some awesome base jumping. I assume the security was just as lax with them.

    This makes me skeptical of actual terrorists. If they wanted to do some kind of harm, couldn’t they just unleash a horde of lone wolfs across america?

    Reply

    1. One would think so. As “simple” as it sounds, you would need a lot of skilled lone wolves.

      Luckily, there aren’t that many.

      Although he is a teenager, this kid already exhibits the habits of a pro lone wolf. You cannot dismiss someone simply be cause of their age.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Reply

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