Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Emerging Threats to Rail Security

Yesterday the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a full committee hearing on the emerging threats to rail security. I have not had a chance to review the video of the hearing, but a quick review of Administrator Pistole's written testimony and Chairman Rockefeller’s opening remarks continue to show that the main emphasis of the politician’s remains focused on passenger rail and transit operations, not freight rail. The GAO report that formed the written testimony of Mr. Lord does make significant observations about freight rail security matters, though it too concentrates on transit issues.


The GAO report continues to take TSA to task for its failure to implement the training regulation requirements of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. It does note that TSA reports that they intend to publish a notice of proposed rule making in the fall of this year. The report fails to note that according to the semi-annual Regulatory Agenda reports published every six months or so by DHS, TSA has had intentions of imminently publishing such an NPRM for quite some time.

Information Sharing

The GAO report addresses the multiple information sharing efforts for transit security, but notes that freight rail carriers are not satisfied with the security and intelligence information provided to them. Three of the Class I railroads that GAO interviewed for this report noted that they frequently receive intelligence information from the media before they receive the same information from TSA.

It will be interesting to see if the video of the hearing shows that the politicians on either side of the committee dais addressed these GAO concerns in their discussions during the questioning period of the hearing. I hope to have a chance to review that video this weekend.

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