The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Oct. 22-28, 2005

Oct. 28, 2005
SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives a weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

It was February 26, 1993, when a car bomb, built by radical Islamist terrorists, was positioned inside a van in the garage below the World Trade Center Tower One, and was exploded. Six persons were killed, and estimates put the injured list at over 1,000. The explosion left a crater and major infrastructure, including power for the entire building and phone service for much of the city, was lost.

Now, some 12 years later, in a show of our nation's speedy judicial process, a jury has decided a case that places the blame for that day. It was a case that considered whether the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operated the trade center before it was destroyed in 2001's attacks, was negligent in the deaths of the six persons killed.

The key part of the case dealt with the fact that security consultants had warned the Port Authority that the garage of the tower was a vulnerable target. That security assessment was from 1985, and according to an AP report, it "recommended closing the public parking area of the garage, and suggested providing guards at entrances, restricting pedestrian entry and conducting random searches of vehicles." Also of interest in the case was the way the jury assigned blame. The six-person jury put 68 percent of the liability for the attacks on the shoulders of the Port Authority, and only 32 percent on the terrorists themselves.

The full story is on our site and is being discussed in our forums. The verdict opens the way for more lawsuits of victims' families suing the Port Authority for financial reimbursement. For any of you who perform assessments or security system designs or lead the security department at any facility or company, this liability that followed inaction of a consultant's recommendations is something worth considering.

Speaking of security leaders, we caught up with two industry figures this week. Con-Way Transportation's Security Director Curtis Shewchuk discussed security of the company's trucking operations and facilities. ADT's Barry Einsig got on the phone with us on Wednesday to discuss what it takes to secure mass transit facilities like subways, commuter rails and bus systems. Both are well worth your time to read.

It was a busy news week in the world of integration. The first thing that happened was that Unisys, which had been contracted by the TSA for systems integration in the aftermath of 9/11, got its hand slapped for reaching too far in the cookie jar. News reports claimed that the company was at fault for overcharging the government on its contracts -- see story. The company contends that the allegations are unfair and that the instances of claimed overcharging reflect only a tiny portion of the entire contract. See Unisys's public statement on this topic.

The second big news of the week for integrators was that the Security Industry Association (SIA) is planning to create a training and knowledge standard for integrators. The program, as concepted currently, would use web-based training and would eventually move to a full certification requirement according to SIA's Jay Hanger. The organization is still seeking input on the program -- see our full story.

Dealers got good news this week, when the ICC Industry Advisory Committee found a place for the NBFAA. Merlin Guilbeau, the NBFAA executive director, will join the committee as a way to make sure the alarm industry's voice is presented as the ICC develops codes and standards -- see story.

Other big stories of the week included news that Honeywell's Genesis Cable was expanding to meet a rising automated and wired home market. It patterns growth in the entire residential market. Baggage screening technology was pushed ahead this week with the TSA offering contracts to Reveal Imaging and to Analogic to develop the next generation of carry-on baggage screening equipment. And for those of you selling residential alarm systems, the Philadelphia Inquirer offered a unique column about the use of these systems and the lack of security in suburbia.

Finally, here's a look at the most read stories of the week. Thanks, as always, for making your top destination for security systems news and information.