Department of Homeland Security to KHOU: Houston Is Not A "Sitting Duck," Dammit

A little over two years ago, KHOU ran an investigative report with the understated title of "Is Houston a Sitting Duck for Terrorism?" The report looked at security measures at the three general-aviation (read:small) airports around here and came to a calm, soberly reported conclusion:

Hence experts like [Mary] Schiavo say that inattention is leaving the door wide open. For example, if a terrorist wanted a jet, rather than hijack as in 9/11, the fear is he might just steal it from one of these airports.

What's worse: Especially in the Houston area, terrorists could create a disaster far bigger than 9/11 with such a vehicle.
Good to know!!

US Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee asked the Department of Homeland Security to look into the report, and DHS -- which doesn't like to turn down opportunities to spend money -- basically calls bullshit on KHOU.

The allegations are "not compelling," DHS says in a section titled "Houston Not a Sitting Duck."

Small aircraft make unlikely terror vehicles, the agency says, because of their light payload. "As a platform for conventional explosives, the threat posed by light [General Aviation] aircraft is relatively small compared to the threat posed by trucks," the report says.

It also disses the security criticism, in which a KHOU reporter noted that fences around places like Hooks Airport are broken in places, and security guards are not exactly always SWAT-team tense.

"The reporters were unaware of some passive and security and monitoring measures," the DHS says, including video cameras and locking up fuel supplies.

So rest easy, KHOU watchers. You have spent the last two years thinking you were in "sitting duck" status, but the duck is completely on his feet and moving.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly