Dry run (terrorism)

A dry run is an act committed by a terrorist organization without carrying out any actual terrorism in an attempt to determine whether a technique they are planning to use will be successful. The dry run is part of the rehearsal for a terrorist act,[1] and is often the immediate precursor to the attack.[2] It may include attempting to smuggle weapons or other items to be used in the attack past a security checkpoint to determine whether this will be noticed, or monitoring the reactions of security personnel to the actions that would occur during a real attack.

The dry run is considered to be the heart of the planning stages of the terrorist attack.[3] It is the method by which strengths and weaknesses in the plot are exposed to the terrorists, unforeseen obstacles can be detected, and the techniques are refined.[4] Sometimes, multiple dry runs are conducted in an effort to perfect the ultimate attack.[5]

Suspicious signs

The following are suspicious signs a dry run may be occurring:[6][7]

Notable reports of dry runs


  1. The Dictionary of Homeland Security and Defense; By Margaret R O'Leary; page 149
  2. Securing global transportation networks: a total security management approach; By Luke Ritter, J. Michael Barrett, Rosalyn A. Wilson; page 255
  3. Citizens Terrorism Awareness and Survival Manual: Protecting America with; By Michael J. Licata; page 20
  4. Understanding, assessing, and responding to terrorism: protecting critical; By Brian T. Bennett; pages 209-10
  5. Disaster planning and control; By William M. Kramer; pages 278-79
  6. Understanding, assessing, and responding to terrorism: protecting critical; By Brian T. Bennett; page 210
  7. Counter-Terrorism Handbook: How to Protect Yourself at Home and Abroad; By Phil Little, Albert Perrotta; page 32
  8. http://www.salon.com/2004/07/21/askthepilot95/singleton/
  9. U.S. Says Terrorists Planned Dry Run
  10. http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/11/01/1903479/terrorists-may-have-conducted.html
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