Expert: 'Impossible' to guarantee safety in hostile parts of world

HOUSTON - The hostage situation in Algeria is bringing attention to the safety and protection of people who work in potentially hostile environments, such as northern Africa and many parts of the Middle East.

Local 2 spoke with a global security expert and consultant to find out how difficult it can be to keep workers safe.

"Nearly impossible," said Bernie McCabe, Jr. with Universal Safety and Security Solutions. "There are intelligence agencies worldwide that have attempted this and not had any success."

McCabe is a retired army colonel who has spent the last decade protecting employees of oil and gas companies, working in foreign and often hostile places.

"Security is absolute. It's a necessity. It just has to be absorbed. It's become a reality in today's world," said McCabe.

The world was reminded of that reality this week, when Islamic extremists stormed a natural gas plant in Algeria and took dozens of workers hostage. Dozens more were killed, leaving many wondering if terrorist attacks like these are at allpreventable.

"I don't think so," said McCabe. "I think we can take precautions and make our properties less attractive to a hostile force so that they'll go to an easier target."

According to McCabe, when operating in hostile environments, security and intelligence must be well-funded and relentless, because the terrorists certainly are.

"They typically have the patience of Jobe," said McCabe. "They'll sit and wait years before they make a move. And it'll usually have a catastrophic effect when they do make that move. One person dies, that's catastrophic to me."

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