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RAF MILDENHALL, England — In the three years since the Eagle Eyes program was created by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, it has provided 9,000 leads worldwide, said the AFOSI commander in Europe.

Col. Mike Stoker said the leads have run the gamut. For example, one report of people lurking around a school turned out to be alumni back for a sentimental visit.

Another in a European capital city uncovered bad people with more than nostalgia on their minds.

Any report is valuable and shows the program is working, said Stoker, who would not go into detail about any other leads.

“It is working. It is a great success story,” he said in a telephone interview from Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The Eagle Eyes program was created in April 2002, seven months after the terrorist attacks in the United States. Stoker describes it as a Neighborhood Watch program aimed at preventing terrorist attacks against U.S. military targets.

Air Force members and their families are briefed on the program and the word is spread through the media. A spot began running recently on the Armed Forces Network to do just that. The Eagle Eyes Web site has further information on the program.

Quite simply, it asks everyone — active-duty members, spouses, civilians and even older children — to be aware of activity in their neighborhoods and report anything suspicious to security police, who will contact OSI.

“It’s a force multiplier that we can’t even put a number on,” said Special Agent Scott Auerbach.

He said terrorists must take seven steps to launch an attack. They are surveillance, elicitation of information, tests of security, acquisition of supplies, a presence in an out-of-place area, a dry run and the deploying of assets.

Interruption of any of these steps will thwart an attack, Auerbach said.

Stoker said it might be more difficult for people overseas to notice unusual activity in a culture that is foreign to them. But, he said, eventually, a person comes to know their surroundings.

“People have great intuition,” he said. “They should rely on their intuition and get it to the experts to investigate. No one is going to get upset over a report that turns out to be nothing in the end.”

In Europe, he said, there is a constant threat. It is different for every country, but it is present everywhere.

Anatomy of an attack

According to Special Agent Scott Auerbach of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, terrorists must take seven steps to launch an attack:

SurveillanceElicitation of informationTests of securityAcquisition of suppliesPresence in an out-of-place areaDry runDeploying of assetsAuerbach said the disruption of any of those seven steps will likely thwart a terrorist attack.

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