Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 26, 2008

Chertoff, TSA Chief Hawley Convene Blogger Roundtable

Filed under: Aviation Security,Humor — by Jonah Czerwinski on November 26, 2008

On November 17, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and TSA Administrator Kip Hawley convened the next blogger roundtable, this time at TSA Headquarters. Topics covered Secure Flight, general aviation security regulations, holiday security measures, technology investments, and other issues. This may have been the final roundtable Secretary Chertoff convenes with the bloggers. However, it was the first time HLSwatch.com was singled out by the Secretary for a recent post with which he took issue. After the usually round-the-table introductions, S1 said the following with a smile:

Mr. Czerwinski: Jonah Czerwinski. Good to see you again, Mr. Secretary.

Secretary Chertoff: By the way I’m going to call you out on one thing. So you disagree with my saying that when I do risk, I put the most weight on consequence? And you said, but on Wall Street they disagree with that. They think it’s more a matter of probability than consequence. I rest my case.

Mr. Czerwinski: They may not be the people to watch–

Secretary Chertoff: Right. It was my position on consequence, which I’ve articulated for a couple years now, is what I’ve now learned that in the trade they call it the fat tail. If you read Black Swan so it’s inside baseball.

Mr. Czerwinski: I noted that, thank you.

Secretary Chertoff: All right, shoot.

Sheesh. Chertoff was referring to my 29 OCT 08 post entitled Chertoff Addresses the Beta, in which I suggest that he described risk assessment in his speech to the Wharton School in such a way that could trigger extremes of excessive caution or excessive spending. I made the ill-timed analogy of how risk is assessed on Wall Street. Oops. The full roundtable transcript is available on the TSA blog.

Fortunately, we won a small victory after that playful jab at my criticism of the Secretary’s risk assessment formula. The roundtable concluded as follows:

Secretary Chertoff: I have to say, people say, why do you do blogging? I’m not saying this to feed your egos. I said, I thought that by and large, in terms of focused, sustained, engaged, and knowledgeable questions, the bloggers who cover us regularly do a great job, and it is useful for me to get feedback because I actually do read these – I read the good ones, I don’t read the nutty ones – to get feedback about stuff that is working and not working, and I think that it is a great way for us to communicate, because we do get, you know, good questions come from a knowledge base. You guys do follow this stuff on a regular basis.

Mr. Czerwinski: When you hand over the “Leadership Journal,” can we get you to guest blog at some point?

Secretary Chertoff: Yeah, I probably will.

Fellow bloggers in attendance included:

Rich CooperSecurity Debrief

Barbara Peterson – Conde Nast Traveler & Daily Traveler

Matt Phillips – Wall Street Journal & The Middle Seat Terminal

Tom Smith – ACI-NA

Benet Wilson – Aviation Week & Towers and Tarmacs

Chad Wolf – Security Debrief

Have a great Thanksgiving everybody. I’ll keep up with developments and update HLSwatch.com over the long weekend if something is time sensitive. If, however, the next few days are as uneventful as I hope, I’ll see you on DEC 1.

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1 Comment »

Comment by Claire Rubin

November 26, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

I am really amazed that Sec. Chertoff is a fan of blogs. Bravo for you Jonah for producing one he reads regularly.

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