On Tuesday, February 2, Directors of the CIA, FBI and National Intelligence declared that an attack by Al Qaeda in the next 3 to 6 months “is certain!” Leon Panetta, CIA Director announced, “The biggest threat is not so much that we face an attack like 9/


Panetta’s statement does not take into account the ability to identify any terrorist whose goal it is to give up their life for a cause.  Only when you are observing measurable emerging aggression can you identify a terrorist before they effect their violence.


The Center for Aggression Management discovered 15 years ago that there were two kinds of aggression: adrenaline-driven Primal Aggression and intent-driven Cognitive Aggression.  The Primal Aggressor, in the extreme, is “red-faced and ready to explode,” the Cognitive Aggressor (the terrorist) is not.  When a person, regardless of the culture, gender, education or position, rises to the level where their goal is to give up their life for a cause, their body looses animation and we see the “thousand-yard stare.” But it is more than this, the whole body and behavior looses animation and this is how we can identify them.  The problem is that security and law enforcement are still looking for the Primal Aggressor (red-faced and ready to explode). Of course they are finding it difficult to detect these terrorist; a terrorist is a Cognitive Aggression; they are looking for the wrong person!

Read more below,”Fort Hood Shooting, Government Systems are Failing Us! 


  1. Excellent information. I work with at risk, poor and minority children and aggression has many roots and many manifestations. A simple approach to where it comes from and how it resolves itself leads to misleading conclusions and the naive belief that we understand intent better that the person we are observing.

    Will follow this blog. Many good articles and I applaud the intellectual rigor and focus. Excellent resource, looking forward to the bullying posts. Most dear to my heart. I am going to refer this site to my friend — a College Pysch professor.

    Best wishes

  2. Great blog and Great information!! I’m surprised that the people responsible for identifying and protecting us from terrorists have not picked up on your Cognitive Aggressor finding and used it. What you discovered 15 years ago explains the “Manchurian Candidate” look on the faces of people like the underwear bomber and Maj. Hasan at Ft. Hood. Amazing!!

  3. John D. Byrnes

    It is more interesting than you have described, Rob.  I spent approximately five years discussing our methods with Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, Human Factors Division to no avail.  They are pursuing a form of Deception Detection, which fails us because different cultures deceive differently; there are over 2,000 different cultures. This method requires far more sophistication than those being asked to use it.  It also fails us for the same reason that polygraph results are not permitted in our courts.  Finally, it fails us because it functions based on fear, stress, frustration and anger all are adrenaline-driven Primal Aggression indicators, which missed the very perpetrator of murder/suicide the intent-driven Cognitive Aggression.  This is why TSA continues to pull aside distraught 85 year-old women going to their husband’s funeral.< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


    To paraphrase the mission of the Science and Technology Directorate: take a leadership role in indentifying methods that may protect US citizens, evaluate them and dispense them.  It appears I don’t have the political gravitas to move this forward.

  4. The behavior differences between adrenaline-driven primal aggression and intent-driven cognitive aggression seem so obvious when you consider them. And, what an effective approach this would be to our current security problems! Yet, our politics prevent us from taking common sense measures to protect our citizens. Truly depressing …

  5. Having a proper system where observed acts of emerging aggression are systematically and meticulously recorded and shared, on a need-to-know basis, then referred to a school counsellor to follow-up with the relevant individuals definitely is a better and more economical solution to not only prevent aggression but it should also be able to prevent suicides or other tragedies triggered by anger or depression.

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