The Security Week That Was: June 29, 2007

Screening Everyone, Everyday

A couple weeks ago, after news of the FBI’s take-down of a terrorist plot against JFK Airport’s fuel storage area, I had William McGuire of Global Security Associates on the phone to talk airport security. McGuire’s firm offers a variety of contract security services for airports and airlines, and he has been very vocal about what he believes needs to change to protect our aviation systems. One of our topics while recording the podcast for SIW Radio was whether there needed to be 100 percent daily screening of all airport workers, from the cargo crews to the maintenance department, even to the people who sell you the magazines. It was an idea that seemed a bit more appropriate after learning that one of the JFK plotters was a former employee, and especially following the incident at Orlando with an employee sneaking in weapons to give to someone aboard a plane.

Well, here we are two weeks later, and we have learned that Boston’s Logan International Airport (where two of the planes commandeered in the 9/11 attacks departed) is starting such a screening process. In an interview with the Boston Herald, Dennis Treece, corporate security director for Logan parent organization the Massachusetts Port Authority, said that the random screening checks that have been done by the TSA just weren’t enough. The new program is solely a pilot program that would do checks for people entering the non-passenger areas. Workers heading into the areas where passengers are already have to go through full screening at the standard TSA checkpoints.

Car Bomb in Central London
Explosives and shrapnel-laden vehicle found outside popular nightclub

Almost 2 years after bombs struck London’s Underground, police this morning were investigating a situation in Central London. A Mercedes sedan was found in the wee hours of this morning packed with explosives, nails and other miscellaneous shrapnel, parked outside one of the city's biggest nightclubs. Depending on who you ask, the vehicle was first noticed by security/bouncers at a nearby nightclub in a busy commercial district, who saw the vehicle pull up and persons inside the vehicle run away…or by an ambulance crew who happened to be there on another call. The event put both London and New York (yes, New York) on high alert, and echoes the 2002 attack by Islamic terrorists on a nightclub in Bali. That attack left 202 dead, most of which were foreign nationals.

Learning from Our Mistakes
History repeats itself as another forensic patient escapes from hospital, shoots corrections officer

Sometimes we need to learn from our mistakes. Within the last couple of years, we had the good consultants at Security Assessments International write an article on best practices in dealing with "forensic patients" – a.k.a., hospital patients who were in the custody of law enforcement while getting medical help (part 1 of that article, part 2). Then, within the year, a young man named William Morva, who was in custody while in a hospital, managed to escape and left a string of violence, before being captured near the Virginia Tech campus; but not before putting that campus on lockdown. Well, the news was similar this week as a man escaped from a Utah hospital, allegedly murdering the officer who was accompanying him in the process, before being apprehended nearby. We’ll hit on this topic again as part of our hospital security webinar on August 8th. Clearly it needs to be reiterated. You can register for the webinar for free.

Also in the News...
First Alert gets new dealer, more in-depth look at fog systems, protecting ATMs, more

Honeywell’s First Alert network picked up STOP Alarms, a Memphis-based security dealer. … Industry experts offered more thoughts on security fog systems, which the IAFC (a fire chiefs association) recently spoke ill about. Our article here is designed to clear up some of that and offer a wide range of information and opinion on those security systems. … Mango DSP has been busy re-branding themselves; check out their new website and look as it’s rolled out. … PSA filed an announcement on their recent PSA-TEC tradeshow and gathering; they reported strong attendance, with over 800 security pros at the event. … And security systems integrator Diebold is out with a fairly comprehensive white paper on how to protect free-standing ATMs from physical attack.

Finally, a look at our most read stories of the week: