EXPOSÉ: America's Investigative Reports
EXPOSÉ 2008 Season
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Think Like a Terrorist (Pt. 1)

In the wake of 9/11, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Carl Prine uncovers shockingly lax security around chemical plants and storage facilities in major American cities. During his investigation, Prine meticulously cases chemical sites across the country, even entering through broken fences and unlocked doors, to demonstrate their vulnerability to terrorist attack. Prine's work reveals just how easy it is to access the chemicals that could harm tens of thousands with one explosion.

Read Carl Prine's original reporting:
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Potential for Disaster

Montage of images

The Facts
Prine joined the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's special projects team in 2000, working on stories ranging from unsolved local murders to gender equity in sports programs. Prine is a former U.S. Marine with expertise in chemical and biological warfare. In 2005, Prine left reporting to join the Pennsylvania National Guard and spent 9 months fighting in Iraq. In 2006, Prine returned to reporting, continuing his investigations into chemical security.

In the wake of 9/11, Carl Prine read a disturbing detail about hijacker Mohammed Atta. In early 2001, Atta had surveyed a chemical plant in Tennessee. It contained enough sulfur dioxide to kill 60,000 nearby residents.

For guidance on slipping into chemical sites undetected, Prine turned to an unlikely source: an environmental group known for occasionally breaching security in order to prove a point. According to Rick Hind, legislative director of the group's toxics campaign, Greenpeace "is very knowledgeable on how to get into chemical plants or any kind of facility -- chemical plants are among the most porous to penetration of any facilities in the United States." Using an infiltration tactic known as "hiding in plain sight," Prine, for the most part, just walked into sites in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, and Texas.

This Week's Episode
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Watch the entire episode of Think Like a Terrorist (Pt. 1) online.
Carl and Deanna Prine
child along a railcar
toxic scenarios