February 2024 TorchStone Global Monthly Executive Protection Report

February 2024 TorchStone Global Monthly Executive Protection Report
March 8, 2024 sdcpm
Executive Protection Report February 2024 - TorchStone Global

February 2024 TorchStone Global Monthly Executive Protection Report

TorchStone Global believes that broader situational awareness and intelligence are key to providing quality executive protection—whether the principal is a Fortune 500 CEO, international celebrity, or local city council member. With that in mind, we are launching our monthly executive protection report, cataloging incidents we have captured through our open-source searches that are relevant to the practice of executive protection. We hope the report will serve as a centralized source of threat activity to provide insight into current trends in threats to high-profile individuals.

For more information on customized threat tracking for at-risk individuals, threat assessments, executive protection, or other security services, please contact us.


The TorchStone Executive Protection Report tracked 24 domestic and 11 international security incidents or updates to prior incidents impacting high-profile individuals during February 2024. Below are some key incidents of note over the past month.

February EP Report Targets and Tactics

February EP Report Trends

  • The response to Israeli military operations in Gaza drove threats against prominent individuals over the past month. TorchStone counted at least 10 incidents that involved pro-Palestine supporters harassing mostly federal government officials. Tactics included protesting outside high-level elected officials’ homes, protesting events attended by President Joe Biden, and disrupting government meetings to emphasize their call for a ceasefire. While most protest actions were peaceful, some involved targeting policy maker’s children and defacing offices. These threats will continue as long as there is ongoing conflict in Gaza.
  • While election-year politics in the United States are contributing to threats against U.S. lawmakers, the June 2 general election in Mexico is generating deadly violence. This past month, competing mayoral candidates were both assassinated in their vehicles on the same day in Michoacan state. Violence will likely increase ahead of the country’s election as drug trafficking organizations seek to maintain control of lucrative ports and drug routes.
  • An Australian photographer filed charges against Taylor Swift’s father after the two got into a scuffle during an event in Sydney. The incident took place while Ms. Swift’s security was dealing with a group of people aggressively trying to approach her. Australian actress Nicole Kidman won a restraining order against the same photographer in 2005 for planting listening devices in her home. The incident serves as a reminder to private executive protection teams that paparazzi can seek to provoke principals into lashing out, generating publicity and demand for the images they captured of the incident.

February 22, 2024: A San Diego resident has been arrested for allegedly making threats directed at an Arizona election worker. The individual left threatening voicemails on the personal cellphone of the election worker, stating, “You wanna cheat our elections? You wanna screw Americans out of true votes? We’re coming,” and told the official to “run and hide.” The individual is facing a maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted.


February 10, 2024: The LAPD responded to reports of an attempted home invasion at the Los Angeles residence of actress Jada Pinkett Smith, according to a report from celebrity news outlet, TMZ. According to law enforcement officials, the perpetrators attempted entry by scaling Ms. Pinkett Smith’s balcony but promptly fled upon realizing her presence in the residence. Police are investigating if the suspects are related to the recent string of luxury home burglaries in the Los Angeles area.

February 20, 2024: Approximately 20 protesters gathered outside the Los Angeles home of Vice President Kamala Harris calling for the end of Israel’s military operations in Gaza. The group displayed Palestinian flags and sang songs during the peaceful action. There were no major disruptions associated with the protest.

February 22, 2024: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched inside of a hotel U.S. President Joe Biden was staying at in San Francisco. Between 20 and 30 protesters entered the hotel, marching around the lobby chanting, “Biden Biden you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.” The group also carried a banner that read, “Stop funding genocide: End all U.S. aid to Israel.” The protest group did not directly interact with President Joe Biden.

February 25, 2024: Several protesters chanted pro-Palestine slogans outside the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica. Images showed that only four protesters were present and that they remained outside the perimeter of the event, several hundred feet away from the venue. However, they used a megaphone to amplify their messages, which could be heard inside the tent where the award ceremony was taking place. Several award ceremony participants commented on the presence of the protesters – mostly in support of them. It appears that event organizers positioned a bus between the protesters and the venue to block the protesters.


February 6, 2024: Colorado State Representative Regina English stated that she has received death threats due to her sponsorship of local legislation that would have introduced an annual pet fee for animal owners in Colorado Springs. Representative English stated that she has received hundreds of messages regarding the legislation, and some have included threats such as, “I hope you die with this bill” and “You don’t deserve to live.” Representative English, an African American woman, has also stated she received racist messages from both local and non-local residents.


February 5, 2024: Attorneys for pop star Taylor Swift are threatening legal action against Jack Sweeney, the operator of Celeb Jets. Celeb Jets uses data from the FAA and hobbyists to track the flights of celebrity-owned private jets. Swift’s attorneys claim that Mr. Sweeney is engaging in harassing behavior and sent him a cease-and-desist letter in December 2023. Mr. Sweeney received threats of similar legal action from Elon Musk in 2022, with Mr. Musk stating that Mr. Sweeney was posting his “assassination coordinates.” Celeb Jets does not post who is on the flight, just the FAA data related to the flights.

February 9, 2024: A Houston resident has been sentenced to 37 months in prison for threatening a federal judge. The woman was found guilty of “using interstate communications to threaten, kidnap or injure” U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. Judge Cannon is overseeing the case involving former U.S. President Donald Trump’s handling of classified material after he left office. In the threatening voicemails, the individual said she would assassinate Judge Cannon in front of her family. Following the individual’s prison sentence, she will be required to serve three years of supervised release.

February 26, 2024: An envelope containing a death threat and an unknown white powdery substance was sent to the Palm Beach home of Donald Trump Jr., the son of former U.S. President Donald Trump. Law enforcement officials stated that tests on the substance came back inconclusive but that they did not believe the substance was harmful. Mr. Trump stated that this is the second time an unknown substance has been mailed to him.


February 8, 2024: Former NFL and MLB athlete Vincent “Bo” Jackson was awarded over $21 million due to actions causing “severe emotional distress.” Members of Mr. Jackson’s family formed “a conspiracy with the purpose of extorting money” from him by publicly disclosing false allegations that tainted Mr. Jackson’s public image. The individuals also threatened to show up at Mr. Jackson’s home to intimidate and harass him. Mr. Jackson was granted a protective order against the perpetrators in May 2023.


February 13, 2024: A Fort Wayne resident has been arrested for making threats directed at Jewish people and pro-Israel government officials in November. The user publicly posted a threat stating “I am going to shoot every pro-Israel US government official in the head, and there is nothing you can do about it because you are the pathetic CIA.” The man also sent a threat to the Fort Wayne police department through a Facebook direct message that read, “I am going to kill every Jew in Ft. Wayne, and there is nothing you can do about it.”


February 2, 2024: A man accused of threatening President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris over social media has had his case dismissed. The man posted on X (Twitter) that both Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris should be taken to prison “to await execution. He shall be hanged.” A federal judge concluded that there was no probable cause to the posts and ruled that the individual did not pose a “true threat.”


February 14, 2024: Two men involved in the shooting that occurred during the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl Parade have been charged with murder. The altercation occurred following a verbal argument that escalated into a shootout, leaving one dead and 20 others injured. There were no indications that the attack was specifically targeted, but security teams for Missouri Governor Mike Parson had to evacuate the governor and his wife from the area. Other notable persons such as the governor of Kansas and the mayor of Kansas City were in attendance—as well as the players and staff of the Kansas City Chiefs football team, several of whom also had to be evacuated. Both men are being charged with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and two counts of criminal action. Both individuals are facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.


February 27, 2024: New evidence emerged suggesting that a Las Vegas-based investigative reporter killed in September 2022 had received death threats via voicemail in the months leading up to his murder. Prosecutors in the case are appealing for a court delay to fully investigate the voicemail and any clues it may contain that are relevant to the case.

New York

February 9, 2024: Pro-Palestine protesters disrupted former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other speakers during an event held at Columbia University. Protesters first gathered outside the event with signs calling Ms. Clinton a “war criminal,” while others were positioned in the event audience and took turns interrupting speakers as they began. Protesters chanted, “Free, free Palestine” and “You will burn” before being removed from the lecture hall.

February 12, 2024: U.S. Representative Dan Goldman’s Brooklyn office was vandalized by a pro-Palestinian demonstrator. The individual covered the office with a sticky substance and held a sign that read “the blood of my family on your…hands.” The demonstrator was caught on CCTV but was masked and police have not been able to identify them, and the investigation is ongoing. This is the second time that pro-Palestinian activists have targeted Representative Dan Goldman’s office in Brooklyn in the past 3 months.

February 25, 2024: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators confronted comedian Jerry Seinfeld outside an event in Manhattan. Mr. Seinfeld was attending an annual event entitled “State of World Jewry” hosted by The Free Press founder Bari Weiss. The demonstrators confronted Mr. Seinfeld as he was leaving the event, chanting, “Genocide supporter! You support genocide!” There was no physical altercation that occurred between the protest group and Mr. Seinfeld.

North Carolina

February 7, 2024: An individual faces multiple counts of issuing threatening communications directed at State Senator Todd Johnson. The person sent a Facebook message to the Senator in November 2023 that read “I’ll kill you (expletive).” The man claims he did not send the threatening messages, stating his account was hacked. The person is facing up to two years in prison for each threatening communication sent.


February 16, 2024: The man who decapitated his father and displayed his head in a YouTube video in January has been charged with terrorism. In the video the man called for violence against government employees stating, “All federal employees are to be killed on site,” he said. “All FBI, IRS, and other federal law enforcement offices, as well as federal courthouses, are to be sieged around the country… Earn your place in heaven by sending a traitor to hell early.” Following his arrest, police found files on the man’s computer that contained pictures of Federal Buildings and instructions for making explosives. The man is facing numerous charges including first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse, three counts of terrorism, and several other charges. He is being held without bail and is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.


February 27, 2024: A federal immigration judge accused a local Houston attorney of sending threatening letters on his law firm’s letterhead, resulting in his termination. Judge Erica Hughes said that the attorney referred to her as an “animal” and made other derogatory statements towards her in the letter. The Texas Supreme Court dismissed an earlier lawsuit against Judge Hughes that accused her of forging signatures on a petition.


February 16, 2024: Pro-Palestinian activists targeted a vehicle carrying the young children of U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Roughly 20 activists camping outside of the home of Mr. Blinken held signs, chanted, and splashed fake blood along the road as Mr. Blinken’s children returned home. The activists held signs that read “War Criminal Bloody Blinken Lives Here” and joined in chants of “Your Father is a Baby Killer.” Mr. Blinken joins a growing list of politicians and government officials being targeted by pro-Palestinian protesters including Senators, Supreme Court Justices, and other public officials.


February 6, 2024: Wisconsin lawmakers are considering legislation that would provide stronger protections for judges. The Wisconsin Supreme Court Marshal’s Office stated that there have been nearly 150 threats against Wisconsin judges in the last year. The bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor to picket outside of a judge’s home with the intent to interfere or influence a judge in carrying out their duties. Additionally, it would expand privacy protections for judges, allowing justices to request that personal information about themselves and their family members be hidden from search engine results.

Washington, District of Columbia

February 5, 2024: A man was arrested for making a death threat directed at U.S. President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. The person left a voicemail on the U.S. Capitol Police threat line stating, “I’m here in Seattle [inaudible] I’m a come over there and I’m going to hunt down Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy and I’m going to fucking kill them.” The individual has a history of mental illness and targeting political figures. He had previously left threatening voicemails targeting Congresswoman Kathleen Rice.

February 7, 2024: U.S. Senator James Lankford stated that he received threats from a right-wing radio host Jesse Kelly due to his support of an immigration bill. Senator Lankford did not identify who made the threats towards him, but Mr. Kelly took credit on his X account. Mr. Kelly allegedly told Senator Lankford “If you try to move a bill that solves the border crisis during this presidential year, I will do whatever I can to destroy you, because I do not want you to solve this during the presidential election.”


February 27, 2024: A photographer has filed a police complaint against pop star Taylor Swift’s father. The photographer claims that while attempting to photograph Ms. Swift as she left a boat docked in Sydney Harbor, Ms. Swift’s father punched him. The photographer stated that Ms. Swift’s entourage was “aggressive and unprofessional” while a spokesperson for the singer stated that her security team was reacting to other individuals who were “aggressively pushing” their way towards Ms. Swift.

January 28, 2005: Actress Nicole Kidman won a restraining order against the same photographer after she discovered listening devices planted in her Sydney home.


February 14, 2024: Pro-Palestinian protesters interrupted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s question period in the House of Commons. The activists entered the public gallery carrying banners and began chanting, “Free free Palestine, stop arming Israel.” Security personnel were able to escort the demonstrators out of the House of Commons after several minutes. There were no arrests made in connection with the disruption.

February 15, 2024: Activists from Greenpeace staged a sit-in protest at the Toronto office of Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. The demonstrators demanded the Canadian government announce climate-related regulations for investment banks that fund fossil fuel projects. Greenpeace’s senior energy strategist stated that the organization is concerned that the government is rolling back climate policies and will not achieve its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.


February 17, 2024: Retired Cuban diplomat Félix Andrés León Carballo was found dead in Havana, allegedly a victim of murder. The Cuban ambassador in Djibouti and close friend of Mr. Carballo stated “Felix Leon died on me… or rather they killed him on me” leading to speculation that the former diplomat was murdered. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the death but did not offer further details. Furthermore, it is unclear whether Mr. Carballo was specifically targeted or a victim of an opportunistic criminal attack.


February 27, 2024: A Danish court has charged two Pakistani nationals over suspicions that they publicly called for people to kill Danish lawmaker Geert Wilders. The two individuals had reportedly promised a reward in the afterlife if they carried out the murder. Mr. Wilders has a history of anti-Muslim rhetoric and has been threatened by prominent Muslims before, including former Pakistani cricket star Khalid Latif. The Netherlands and Pakistan do not have an extradition treaty, leaving prospects for a trial unclear.


February 26, 2024: Two mayoral candidates in the city of Maravatio in Michoacan state were found shot dead within a span of several hours. First, the ruling Morena party confirmed their local candidate, Miguel Ángel Zavala, was found dead from gunshot wounds in his car. Later that evening, authorities found the body of the mayoral candidate for the conservative National Action Party, Armando Pérez, similarly shot dead in his car. Violence against politicians is expected to increase ahead of the country’s June 2 election as drug trafficking organizations seek to maintain control of lucrative ports and drug routes. Mexico’s murder rate has been slowly declining since peaking during its last election year (2018) but the return of contentious politics threatens a return to record-breaking murder rates in 2024.


February 16, 2024: Prominent Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny died while in a Russian prison. Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Services stated that Mr. Navalny died after losing consciousness while taking a walk. World leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for Mr. Navalny’s death. Mr. Navalny was the target of a Russian-backed assassination attempt in 2020 when he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok on a commercial flight. Mr. Navalny was serving multiple prison sentences that would have kept him imprisoned until 2031.


February 5, 2024: Internet influencer Chen Yee was assaulted by a man in Taipei. The man was heavily intoxicated and reportedly asked Ms. Chen for a photograph before attacking her with his bare hands and a mobile phone. Ms. Chen suffered multiple abrasions to her head and body but was assisted by bystanders who witnessed the attack. The man has a history of drug use, and police are investigating his motive in the attack. Ms. Chen has filed charges of assault against the man.

United Kingdom

February 14, 2024: Over 60 pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered outside MP Tobias Ellwood’s home. The activists called on Mr. Ellwood to request an immediate ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. This prompted Mr. Ellwood to publicly state “All MPs expect criticism from time to time, it comes with the territory, but the bar of acceptable treatment is falling.” No Ellwood family members were home at the time of the protest.

February 21, 2024: A woman accused of harassing and stalking singer Harry Styles appeared in court. The stalker allegedly sent over 8,000 cards in less than a month, some of which were wedding cards that depicted her and Mr. Styles. The woman was originally from Brazil and had been staying at a hostel in London since December 2023. The woman did not enter a plea deal and will remain in custody until her case is heard in April 2024.

February 24, 2024: A man made verbal threats against London Mayor Sadiq Khan during multiple phone calls to a police constabulary. The specific wording of the threats was not reported. The man pleaded guilty to the charge of “conveying a threat of death or serious harm” on February 26. The telephone threat came shortly after a conservative lawmaker accused Mayor Khan of being under the control of Islamists. Sources told the media that Mayor Khan has received a round-the-clock police protection detail of at least 15 officers since 2017. Such levels of protection are typically reserved for senior members of the cabinet. Mayor Khan has regularly received threats from radical Islamists and the far-right.