Thursday, March 5, 2009

Reader Comment – 03-04-09

Fred Millar chimed in with a comment on my blog on TSA Inspectors. Fred vehemently disagrees with the DHS IG’s assessment of reduced risk of terrorists attacking PIH railcars in HTUAs. He notes that: “In the hazmat profession, Risk = probability times consequences. Have the vulnerability zones of hazmat cargoes in our target cities been reduced, e.g., through re-routing? No, because railroads have prevented it.” The DHS IG did not address the re-routing issue at all in their report. Probably because it has fallen to the Federal Railroad Administration to implement the weak regulation adopted last fall. Even if they had addressed it we cannot expect to see any re-routing effort from those rules until the end of the year; and Fred and I share the same view that we don’t expect to see much re-routing. If we put the matter of re-routing aside for a moment Fred does seem to miss the point of the IG and TSA. If you reduce the time that a target remains in an HTUA you reduce the probability that it will be successfully attacked (I said reduced, not eliminated). By the equation that Fred quoted that should also reduce the risk. Now this is low hanging fruit that TSA has targeted, but it is risk reduction work. With the undermanned inspection force and lack of realistic funding, that is an accomplishment. But, further reduction in the ‘time in city’ of these PIH shipments can now only be achieved by realistic rerouting rules.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

PJ, did DHS make any report data available for scrutiny? Do we know what methods the IG used to assess risk? We need a transparent government, especially if private corporate entities seem determined to keep large populations at high risk (e.g. railroads with TIH routing, food companies with salmonella sales).

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