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sept. 11

Security officer brings live bomb INSIDE building, leaves it there for three weeks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wow. It's not very often I read about security breaches this atrocious. According to an ABC News story, a contract security officer apparently spotted a package outside the McNamara Federal Building in Detroit, but instead of treating it with caution, he picked it up and brought it inside the building:

"Against all security protocols -- an unattended package should be treated with extreme caution -- he picked up that package and took it inside basically on the premise of 'lost and found' property. And apparently stored it. That was on Feb. 26. On March 18th, last Friday, someone got the idea to x-ray the package. At that point wires were seen... and it turned out to be a bomb."

And this isn't just any commercial building, the McNamara Federal Building houses the FBI, IRS and offices for Sen. Carl Levin. Yes, you read that correctly: The FBI!

According to the article, the bag contained a pipe bomb.

The response? Well, that particular officer was suspended and a special training team will be deployed to Detroit to re-train the building's security personnel on proper protocol. Yeah, I would say that would be a good idea. While this officer certainly broke protocol, I can't imagine he didn't mention this to another officer, right? I'm guessing there's more than one officer protecting this very important federal building and he likely said something to someone else about finding the bag.

There's plenty of finger pointing to do, but I'm just happy I can write a blog about the idiocy of this situation instead of the tragedy.

TSA supervisor gets busted for helping smuggle 200 pounds of marijuana

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sometimes people's stupidity astounds me. While I try not to add to the sensational nature of much of the mainstream media's focus on the Transportation Security Administration, I couldn't let this one slip by. Here's a story from the New York Post about how a TSA supervisor who is accused of helping a man bypass airport security measures in order to smuggle cash and 200 POUNDS (!) of marijuana out of the state:

Behavior detection officer Minnetta Walker, 43 — whose position gave her free reign at the airport — used her status to help drug boss Derek Frank’s gang avoid full body scanners, luggae x-ray machines and secondary screening at the gates, authorities said.

First of all, I can't even imagine what 200 pounds of pot must look like. That's got to be at least several suitcases worth, right? I just don't understand how people think they could get away with such things, inside help or not. According to the article, Walker had been involved in such illegal activity since February 2010 and was only caught after she was wiretapped. But once again, more bad publicity for the TSA. It's pretty clear this agency will never be the recipients of good press, but I'm pretty sure John Pistole knew that going in.

The challenges of rebuilding the World Trade Center

Friday, November 5, 2010

In nearly every interview I conduct, there is at least one reference to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. And for good reason. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center changed the security landscape forever here in the United States and made security, particularly aviation security, a priority. In many respects, that has been good for security professionals particularly in terms of funding, but also in bringing validity to the profession. Basically, the terrorist attacks gave security professionals a seat at the table. Of course, it’s unfortunate such a tragic incident had to occur to make people understand and appreciate the importance of security programs, but so often that's what it takes for things to happen.
That’s why I was particularly humbled this past week to meet with Louis Barani, The World Trade Center Security Director for the Port Authority of NY & NJ. My colleague Martha Entwistle (she’s the new editor of our sister publication, Security Systems News) and I had the opportunity to sit down with Barani and discuss some of the challenges of the project. We were also able to speak with the primary security consultants, Ducibella Venter & Santore (DVS), about the difficulties of managing seven towers, all with different owners, and ensuring that the architects and those involved with the design of the building met high security standards.

The 16-acre site will include seven towers, a PATH train station, a vehicle screening building, and, of course, a plaza with two reflecting pools that are the former footprints of the Twin Towers. And, in terms of security, there were many considerations to be taken into account. Because of the threat to the site, a vehicle screening building has been designed to screen every vehicle entering the site, which is limited to delivery and executive drop-off vehicles – there is no parking garage or public entrance areas. In contrast, the ground level, including the memorial site and plaza, is designed to accommodate a free flow of people and Barani said he expects one million visitors a year to the site.

Barani said he was hired in Oct. 2009 to "catch security up to construction." One of the biggest challenges has been the fact that each tower is owned by a different stakeholder, so they have separate security systems in place. But, it's obviously critical that there be strong communication. It’s the job of Barani and DVS to ensure that there is the best situational awareness possible for all seven towers and the surrounding area. And, of course, it’s important that law enforcement - NYPD and the Port Authority Police Department - as well as FDNY and those in the private sector to know what’s happening.

There will be a more in-depth article on my visit to the World Trade Center on our next newswire, including greater detail about how Barani and DVS solved some of those challenges and some of the technology involved, but for now I'm going to enjoy the rest of my time here in New York City. If you just can't wait, you can read Martha's story here.

NYC’s approach to counterterrorism


WASHINGTON—No U.S. city has faced more threats from terrorism than New York City. From the Sept. 11 attacks to the attempted bombing in Times Square, the New York Police Department, along with various government agencies and private sector partners, continue to mitigate threats of terrorism.