The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Dec. 16-22, 2006

SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives a weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

I have a very good friend of mine who has been employed in recent years trying to help rebuild Afghanistan. He tries to create collaboration, improve education, and assist a war-torn country to move beyond that devastation and into the 21st century. I'd say he has a tough job, and he'd probably agree.

We spent some time going though a couple hundred of his best photos of Afghanistan. After enjoying the slide show, our talk turned to security, as four of us -- my friend, his brother (who served a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army), myself, and a former reporter who covered the middle East extensively -- burned the midnight oil to talk about the situation in Kabul.

My friend turned from time to time to discuss the security at the home where he and his wife live. We talked a bit about building hardening and how the house met UN/US residential security requirements. We also talked at length about the kind of window protection he has, which I found interesting because I interviewed Hinman Consulting Engineer's Hollice Stone as part of our podcast series for a segment about window films quite recently. I asked him whether his home had been attacked, and he told us, "Many times."

He told me about the "cartoon" riots in his streets (he's near the embassy) that were instigated by the cartoons depicting Mohammed in a Danish publication and how he had to direct his personal security detail on how to respond. He remarked how he studied how riots near the embassy affected his own home and how he spoken with the armed guards in his compound about how their security system needed to change based on how the rioters were presenting themselves when attacking the residential compound, where a number of Americans and other foreigners live.

He told of the rocks that regularly strike his windows when demonstrations and riots occur, and how the film does it job, bouncing the rocks away. But he also told me of the time a projectile, probably a big brick he later found lying in his courtyard, was able to crack the window despite the film. He says he has kept the spider-webbed glass in the window as a daily reminder to himself of the need to be vigilant. And that is the nature of residential security these days in Afghanistan.

In Other News
HSM sale inspires Brink's investors, Rail security plan unveiled, and more

Apparently the news last week of HSM's sale to Stanley Works got the investment community up in a rush. Before the dust could even settle on the Stanley-HSM acquisition, MMI Investments was calling for Brink's to look into a possible sale as well. Brink's seemed ambivalent about the whole thing, and the company spokesperson actually said the company itself was looking at acquisitions -- but where it would be the buyer, not the one sold.

The TSA came out with a plan for rail security that avoided the question of getting hazmat cars out of densely populated areas. Fortunately, the Transportation Department was wise enough to follow closely with their own plan -- which addressed that issue.

Synergx landed a NYC transit project. The integrator will be placing state-of-the-art camera systems in 32 stations. In another story of integration, electronics, cameras and biometrics supplier Oki landed a deal to supply high-tech iris recognition cameras to a Swiss bank for the company's new headquarters.

Finally to close, we republish the old SIW classic, "The Alarm Before Christmas":

Twas the Alarm Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a sensor was detecting anything, not even a mouse;

The PIRs were mounted in the corners with care,
In hopes they could catch a burglar who tried to come there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Knowing their CO monitors would keep the gas out of their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just programmed the keypad and settled down for a long winter's nap,

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