November 2023 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 34 domestic and 20 international security incidents or updates to prior incidents impacting high-profile individuals during the month of November. Below are some key incidents of note over the past month.
- Antisemitic threats against pro-Israel lawmakers and members of the Jewish community continued as the Israel-Hamas conflict continued in Gaza. Police arrested a man in Arizona after he threatened a local rabbi, and multiple U.S. members of Congress have reported vandalism targeting their district offices or receiving threats. Such threats are likely to continue as long as Israeli military operations continue in Gaza.
- Federal authorities are investigating a series of mail threats targeting election official offices in five U.S. States, including in Washington and Georgia. Investigators have confirmed that at least four of the envelopes contained fentanyl, a highly potent, potentially lethal drug substance. Some of the letters forced evacuations that caused delays to the ballot counting process. Authorities are still investigating the motive behind the letters, but it appears that they targeted election officials and the election process.
- Finally, U.S. authorities charged an Indian national with conspiring to assassinate a prominent Sikh leader in the New York area, following Canadian accusations that the government of India was behind the murder of a Sikh leader in Vancouver earlier this year. Authorities appear to have disrupted the planned attack and nobody was hurt. However, the second alleged plot in North America linked to the Indian government suggests there is a coordinated global campaign to target Sikh leaders abroad.
DOMESTIC U.S. INCIDENTS
November 18, 2023: Federal authorities have indicted a Tempe resident for making a death threat against a federal judge in Utah and a local Rabbi. Earlier in November, the man sent an email to the judge calling him a “race traitor” and stating, “He has decided to aid the Israelites in persecuting me with this injunction. He will hang from the gallows for this crime.” In the same email, the suspect went on to threaten that if the Rabbi did not use his “influence to right this wrong I will execute you and every other JEW [sic] I can find tonight at midnight of your Sabbath.” The man has been charged with making threats against a federal judge, electronic communication harassment, and making a threat of violence.
November 3, 2023: A Kenai resident has been charged by a grand jury for making interstate threats directed at a U.S. Senator. The man submitted a web form to the senator’s office in September 2023, in which he identified himself, and threatened to injure and kidnap the senator. The man was taken into custody by Capitol Police and the FBI on October 30, 2023, and is currently awaiting his sentencing hearing. Interstate communication with a threat to kidnap and injure carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
November 8, 2023: Popstar Tinashe filed for a restraining order against a man who has been stalking her in Los Angeles. The man showed up to the singer’s brother’s birthday party in late October, despite not being invited, and directly approached Tinashe. Several days later the same person attempted to gain access to Tinashe’s home three separate times on the same day. He was arrested on the third attempt by Los Angeles police. Los Angeles Police Threat Management is conducting an ongoing investigation into the stalking allegations.
November 16, 2023: The man who was facing charges related to the assault of U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, in their San Francisco home in October 2022 has been found guilty. During the man’s trial testimony, he admitted that he broke into the Pelosis’ home with the intention of holding Nancy Pelosi hostage and would have broken her kneecaps if she lied to him. Defense attorneys for the individual stated that his crimes were motivated by his political beliefs and that he a was believer in government conspiracy theories, including QAnon. He is awaiting sentencing and will face up to 50 years in prison for the attempted kidnapping of a federal official and the assault of an immediate family member of a federal official.
November 16, 2023: Billie Eilish obtained a civil harassment restraining order in L.A. County against an individual for recent unwanted contact. Ms. Eilish asserted that an unknown individual attempted to access her Los Angeles home and issued menacing threats directed at her family and friends. In February 2023, Ms. Eilish observed a shirtless male staring towards her outside her living room window at her L.A. residence. Additionally, Ms. Eilish was granted a 5-year restraining order in January for an individual accused of breaking into her parents’ residence in the Highland Park neighborhood.
November 27, 2023: LAPD responded to the Miracle Mile neighborhood in the early evening hours. Authorities indicated the resident, a 33-year-old man identified as Michael Latt, the CEO of Lead With Love—an organization dedicated to advancing social justice through the arts—had been shot by a female intruder. Officials from the District Attorney’s Office implied she targeted Mr. Latt because of his association with a woman the woman had previously stalked, filmmaker A.V. Rockwell. Earlier this summer in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Miss Rockwell applied for a restraining order against the woman for escalating disturbing conduct and references made about owning a firearm. Miss Rockwell claimed that the unsettling behavior escalated when she didn’t respond, with references like, “My Glock is Loaded as I write this,” and an apparent suicide threat stating, “One pull of the trigger and I’ll be free.”
November 27, 2023: Congressman David Valadao’s office in Hanford was vandalized by pro-Palestinian protesters. The demonstrators splashed fake blood on the walls of Mr. Valadao’s office and covered the doors with flyers that pictured Palestinians who have died in the Israel-Hamas conflict. The Congressman stated that his office would remain open despite the vandalism. Mr. Valadao has taken a strong pro-Israel stance since the beginning of the conflict.
November 1, 2023: A man brandishing a knife attempted to attack former MMA fighter Javier Baez in Miami. The individual attempted to cut Mr. Baez and enter his vehicle while he was waiting in a parking lot. Mr. Baez attempted to calm the man but was forced to restrain and disarm the attacker after the man tried to attack him a second time. Police arrested the attacker who is facing charges of burglary with assault or battery.
November 7, 2023: U.S. Congressman Rich McCormick has temporarily closed his office in Cumming due to threats of violence made against his staff. The specifics of the threat have not been made public, but the Congressman made the following statement via his X account, “I take the safety of my team seriously. We will still be working for you remotely so reach out to my staff if you have any needs.”
November 8, 2023: An Atlanta resident is being accused of transmitting interstate threats to injure Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. The man left two threatening voicemails at the Congresswoman’s Washington D.C. office in which he stated his intention to kill Ms. Greene, her staff, and their families. The man said, “And I’m gonna kill her next week. I’m gonna murder her. I’m gonna shoot her in the [expletive] head, okay?… You’re gonna die! Your family is gonna die!” The investigation is being handled by the FBI and is still ongoing.
November 9, 2023: Letters filled with fentanyl and other substances were mailed to election offices in both Georgia and Washington. The Fulton County election office in Georgia and election offices in King County, Skagit County, Spokane County, and Pierce County in Washington State were all targeted. Law enforcement officials have not disclosed why they believe the threats to be related, but the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service are investigating the incident.
November 2, 2023: A resident of Council Bluffs, Iowa has been arrested and charged with sending threatening emails, letters, and phone calls to numerous locations in Niles, Illinois. Between October 6 and October 23, the individual made threats directed at the mayor of Niles, a Niles village trustee, the Niles Police Department, and the Niles Elementary School. The man sent letters containing a white powdery substance to the Niles Police Station and the Niles Elementary School, both letters were deemed non-hazardous. The individual is facing two counts of threatening a public official and three counts of disorderly conduct.
November 30, 2023: Police arrested a man in Des Plaines for leaving multiple threatening voicemails directed at a DeKalb County Judge. The suspect also threatened to “blow up” a school. Police took him into custody where he will await trial.
November 9, 2023: A homeless man has been accused of assaulting former U.S. Senator Martha McSally. The man allegedly assaulted Ms. McSally while she was on a run in a local park. She stated that the man snuck up behind her and put her in a bear hug before the assault occurred and proceeded to grope her. The man involved has been arrested and could face a charge of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.
November 20, 2023: A New Haven resident is accused of making a threat against Nelson County Judge John Kelley. Judge Kelley had previously granted an emergency protective to the man’s ex-girlfriend after she accused him of attempting to kidnap her and murder another man. The man was arrested, and Nelson County Sheriff officials found guns, a pipe bomb, booby traps and detailed plans for kidnapping and murder in his home. The man was arraigned on November 23 and is currently awaiting trial.
November 19, 2023: The Michigan vacation home of U.S. ambassador Rahm Emanuel, a prominent Jewish politician, was spray-painted with the word “Nazis.” An investigation is ongoing, but no suspects have been identified in connection with the incident. Ambassador Emanuel was not at home when the incident occurred.
November 2, 2023: A federal inmate currently serving a 112-month sentence has pleaded guilty to issuing threats directed at the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse in St. Louis, a federal judge, and a former probation officer. The man sent two letters in June 2022 threatening to blow up the courthouse, kill the judge who sentenced him, and his former probation officer. The man is facing counts of retaliating against a federal official, mailing threatening communications, and threatening to destroy a federal building. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
November 15, 2023: A West Plains resident has been sentenced to two years of probation and 365 days in jail for threatening court officials. The individual had threatened to abduct his children from his ex-wife and referenced the murder of lawyers and judges involved in issuing a protective order against him. The man will be barred from approaching the court officials and his ex-wife until the expiration of his probation.
November 27, 2023: A Montana resident has informed federal prosecutors that he intends to plead guilty to issuing death threats directed at U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. The individual was facing additional allegations of threatening to kill President Joe Biden, which federal prosecutors have agreed not to pursue in exchange for the man’s guilty plea. The man has been in jail since April 2023 when he was arrested for threatening his neighbor with a pellet gun. The man is facing up to 10 years in prison.
November 3, 2023: Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron and his staff have received numerous threats since he began overseeing the civil fraud trial of Donald Trump. Judge Engoron stated, “My chambers have been inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters, and packages” since the beginning of the trial. Judge Engoron has already found the defendants liable for fraudulent inflation of property valuation and is set to rule on six other claims.
November 10, 2023: Dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators assembled at the New York City offices of the multinational investment management firm BlackRock. The activists targeted BlackRock due to its financial investments in Israel. The crowd, led by the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), shouted slogans such as, “BlackRock, you cannot evade! We accuse you of genocide!” during the protest.
November 13, 2023: Fans of Marisa Tomei were pushed back by the actress’s security after fans taunted her as she exited a party in New York City. Ms. Tomei was swarmed by fans seeking a picture with her, and when she refused some fans began to follow and taunt the actress. Ms. Tomei’s security brandished their tasers to repel the crowd and get the actress to her car. A fan who attempted to interact with Ms. Tomei called the police, but the actress and her security left the scene before police arrived. There was no direct altercation between the security personnel and the fans.
November 16, 2023: The Brooklyn office of Jewish Congressman Dan Goldman was graffitied with messages such as, “Free Palestine” and “Let Gaza Live.” A spokesperson for Congressman Goldman stated, “Harassing, intimidating, and outright attacking the staff of a Jewish elected official at a time of rising violence and rampant antisemitism is dangerous and unacceptable.” No suspects have been identified in connection with the vandalism, but the New York Police Department is investigating the incident.
November 29, 2023: U.S. authorities charged an Indian national with plotting to assassinate Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on U.S. soil. Mr. Pannun is an Indian-born U.S.-Canadian dual national who was declared a terrorist by the Indian government in 2019 and whose New York-based organization, Sikhs for Justice, has been banned in India. U.S. officials have contacted Indian leaders regarding allegations that the Indian government may have been involved in the plot. The announcement of the assassination plot comes after Canada said there was evidence that the Indian government was involved in the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver earlier this year. The Indian government has denied involvement in both the assassination plot on Mr. Pannun and the killing of Mr. Nijjar.
November 3, 2023: U.S. Representative Greg Landsman canceled a town hall event in Lebanon scheduled for November 4 due to warnings from local and federal law enforcement officials. While the warnings did not explicitly reference the uptick in antisemitic incidents linked to the conflict in Gaza, they did reference the general increase in threats to the Jewish community. Rep. Landsman’s office issued a statement reading: “We have been advised by the House Sergeant at Arms and local law enforcement that due to problematic online discourse and very serious national threats against Jews, it is imperative we take necessary steps to keep people safe.”
November 29, 2023: A Lodi, Ohio man has been apprehended by federal authorities, facing charges accusing him of sending a racially charged threat to New Mexico District Attorney Gerald Byers. The purported suspect is now facing federal charges for leaving a threatening voicemail for the district attorney, which reportedly included racial slurs.
November 9, 2023: An active-duty soldier has been charged by the FBI for cyberstalking and issuing death threats directed at judges and Clarksville public officials. The man has voiced frustrations with numerous local judges, attorneys, and law enforcement officers. The soldier also threatened a battalion commander assigned to the base the man is stationed at. Military officials have stated they are working with law enforcement on the investigation.
November 14, 2023: Two individuals have been indicted for making threats against two different federal judges in the Northern District of Texas. One individual made a phone call threatening to kill a judge with intent to “impede, intimidate, and interfere with the performance of his official duties.” The second allegedly mailed a letter that threatened to kill or injure a separate federal judge from the same district. There has been no connection established between the two threats or suspects. The two individuals face maximum sentences of 15 years and 20 years in prison respectively.
November 9, 2023: An unknown individual sent letters containing fentanyl and other substances to several election offices in Washington. Election offices in King County, Skagit County, Spokane County, and Pierce County in Washington state were all targeted. A Tacoma police spokesperson shared that the letter stated, “something to the effect of stopping the election.” FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service officials have stated that they believe the letters mailed to various election offices in Washington and the letter mailed to the election office in Fulton County Georgia are connected.
November 13, 2023: Musician Nikki Sixx publicly announced that both he and his family members have been targeted by stalkers in recent years. Mr. Sixx stated on social media that he was stalked, and his family members were harassed by a Tennessee woman who targeted his wife and child with multiple threats. The musician obtained multiple restraining orders against the woman which she repeatedly violated, leading to her arrest. Mr. Sixx stated that he is now being targeted by a different stalker, who traveled to the musician’s residence and threatened his life. The FBI is investigating the incident, but no additional details are available.
Washington, District of Columbia
November 7, 2023: A speech given by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was interrupted by climate activists. Mr. Powell and Israeli Central Bank Governor Amir Yaron were both slated to speak at a research conference that was open to the public. Mr. Powell was escorted off the stage by security as the protesters began chants of “End fossil finance” during his speech. The disruption lasted roughly two minutes and Mr. Powell was able to continue his address after the interruption.
November 7, 2023: The U.S. Capitol complex, including the Senate office buildings, was placed on lockdown after an Atlanta resident armed with a gun was arrested nearby. The man was walking in Upper Senate Park armed with a rifle. Capitol Police approached the man, directed him to drop the weapon, and arrested him upon refusal of the order. Capitol Police have opened an investigation into the potential motive of the man.
November 12, 2023: U.S. Secret Service agents assigned to President Biden’s granddaughter fired at three individuals attempting to break into an unmarked Secret Service vehicle. The agents witnessed the break-in attempt while in Georgetown where Ms. Biden was out with her mother. The suspects fled in a vehicle after being fired upon by the Secret Service agent. An investigation is underway, but no additional details have been released at this time.
November 12, 2023: A Shabbat dinner held at the Somos political conference in San Juan was interrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters. Demonstrators covered in fake blood and shouting, “Stop it” and “Jews in New York hate genocide” crashed the dinner, interrupting the gathering several times. The Somos political conference is an annual gathering of New York political leaders and Puerto Rican community leaders to discuss issues of importance to Latinos in New York state.
November 12: An unknown individual hurled an object towards Taylor Swift during a concert at the Estadio River Plate venue in Buenos Aires. Social media videos depict the object landing near a piano on stage, prompting a brief delay in the performance. In recent months, several artists have encountered a diverse range of objects hurled at them while they were performing, such as phones and jewelry.
November 30, 2023: Police have increased security for Iranian-born lawmaker, Safia Darya, after she recently received death threats. Darya is an outspoken critic of Iranian leadership and has alleged that the threats are coming from Islamist extremists and supporters of Iran’s government. Police are investigating the threats but have not announced any arrests.
November 8, 2023: Three men broke into the home of professional soccer player Neymar’s ex-girlfriend, Bruna Biancardi. The thieves stole purses, watches, and jewelry but fled the home when the neighbor called security. Ms. Biancardi’s parents were at the residence during the time of the incident. One man was arrested in connection with the robbery, but the other two perpetrators have not been identified at this time.
November 14, 2023: Police arrested one protester for assaulting an officer after hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a dinner in Vancouver on November 14. Hundreds of police responded to Bagheera, a restaurant and bar located on Main Street, after protesters surrounded and entered the restaurant, chanting pro-Palestinian slogans and criticizing the Prime Minister for his official support for Israel. Videos of the incident posted to social media suggest that protesters got within inches of the prime minister and had the opportunity to physically harm him had they chosen to do so.
November 16, 2023: The mayor of Longueuil, Quebec, Catharine Fournier, has received death threats related to a proposed plan to reduce the population of deer living in a local park. An October ruling by the Superior Court of Quebec approved a controlled crossbow hunt to reduce the deer population in Michel-Chartrand Park. Local police suspect the threats have been made by one person, but no name has been released and no arrests have been made in connection with the threats. The mayor was placed under police protection in September 2023, due to concerning events unrelated to the recent threats.
November 29, 2023: Two men involved in the kidnapping of Colombian soccer player Luis Diaz’s parents have been sentenced to prison. Mr. Diaz’s parents kidnapping was orchestrated by an acquaintance of the family and carried out by a man contracted by a member of the National Liberation Army. The National Liberation Army acknowledged the kidnapping, admitted it was a mistake, and released Mr. Daiz’s father on November 9, 2023. The two men charged with the kidnapping have denied any involvement in the scheme.
• October 28, 2023: Authorities rescued the mother of Colombian soccer player Luis Diaz after his parents were kidnapped near their home in Barrancas, in northern Colombia.
November 29, 2023: The mayor of a town in southeastern France said she has filed a complaint with police after receiving multiple death threats after commenting on the recent controversial death of a boy in a neighboring town. Mayor Marie-Hélène Thoraval revealed that she received threats by telephone and on social media, including references to her decapitation. The threats came a week after Mayor Thoraval raised concern over youth delinquency and drug trafficking following the lethal stabbing of a 16-year-old boy during a fight at an entertainment venue in a nearby town.
November 4, 2023: A man was arrested for sending a death threat via email to the Charmain of Reliance Industries Limited, Mukesh Ambani. Mumbai Police stated that the man also demanded a payment of Rs 400 crore (approximately USD 48 million). The man had sent numerous threats to Mr. Ambani and his family members over the past several months and has been in police custody since November 8.
November 15, 2023: Over 200 conservative Muslims marched ahead of a Coldplay concert in Jakarta. The demonstrators called for the cancelation of the concert with signage that read, “Reject, cancel and disband Coldplay concerts.” The group’s objection to Coldplay is centered around the band’s history of supporting LGBT rights during its shows, such as lead singer Chris Martin wearing pride flags during performances. The group played the concert as scheduled without disruption.
November 21, 2023: The leader of the Forum for Democracy party, Thierry Baudet, was assaulted at a bar in Groningen. Mr. Baudet was hit on the head with a beer bottle and was treated for a head injury at a local hospital. Witnesses to the attack stated that the assailant yelled “Done with fascism” before striking Mr. Baudet. This is the second time that Mr. Baudet has been attacked while campaigning for the Parliamentary election on November 22, 2023. The assailant has been arrested.
November 13, 2023: Two men broke into South Africa Rugby Union headquarters in Cape Town and stole a bottle of whiskey, five signed Springbok jerseys, and eight laptops. CCTV footage captured the burglary; however, police have been unable to identify either of the thieves and no arrests have been made. A spokesperson for the union stated that no trophies were taken during the burglary.
November 7, 2023: South African Transportation Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga and her bodyguards were robbed on a highway south of Johannesburg. The thieves placed spikes on the road which punctured the tires of the minister’s car, allowing the men to rob the minister and her security team. The thieves made away with personal items and the firearms of the minister’s security. No arrests have been made in connection with the robbery.
November 20, 2023: A woman broke into the dressing room of Korean pop star Kyuhyun and injured him with a knife. Kyuhyun was able to restrain the woman until security arrived. The singer suffered a small cut on his finger which did not require additional medical attention. Police are currently investigating a potential motive for the attack. The woman has no connection to the singer.
November 9, 2023: The former leader of Spain’s People’s Party Alejo Vidal-Quadras was shot in the face in Madrid. The gunman reportedly drove up next to the former politician’s vehicle on a motorcycle and shot him. Mr. Vidal-Quadras was immediately transported to a hospital where medical staff stated that he suffered a double jaw fracture but was expected to survive. Mr. Vidal-Quadras has accused Iran of being behind his attempted murder due to his previous support for Iran’s opposition movement; however, police have not confirmed this claim. Police have not made an arrest and no official motive has been uncovered in connection with the attack.
November 10, 2023: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez were trapped in a building in Malaga by a group of protesters. Right-wing demonstrators from Revuelta were upset about PM Sanchez’s recent election victory. Both leaders were trapped in the hotel for over three hours and were only able to leave with a police escort. No injuries were reported from the incident.
November 28, 2023: The head of Ukraine’s intelligence agency Kyrylo Budanov’s wife was allegedly poisoned. Ms. Budanov was reportedly poisoned with heavy metals and is currently undergoing medical treatment. Ukrainian investigators have blamed Russia and believe the poison was placed in Ms. Budanov’s food. Mr. Budanov has survived several attempts on his own life since the beginning of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, including a failed car bombing. There is no definitive evidence that links Russia to the poisoning.
November 1, 2023: The manager of a social media influencer talent agency, Jordan Smith, has announced increased security at the “Rebel Mansion” after two stalkers attempting to meet his clients showed up at the home. Mr. Smith stated that two men tried to breach the property’s perimeter but were quickly detained by security. Mr. Smith had attempted to keep the location of the mansion a secret, but the location was leaked online which the two stalkers found and tried to gain access to the property. The security improvements include additional guards, additional CCTV, and a drone to sweep the premises.
November 4, 2023: Jewish actress Maureen Lipman has been assigned a security detail while filming outside scenes for the show Coronation Street due to a rise of antisemitic attacks throughout the UK. Ms. Lipman recently condemned UK celebrities who signed a petition supporting Palestine which resulted in the security assignment. No specific threats made towards Ms. Lipman have been reported.
November 26: A top aide to former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan reported being attacked with acid outside his residence in Cambridge. The aid claimed that the event fits an ongoing pattern of harassment, extortion, and sustained targeting over the past six or seven months since he left Pakistan.