ASCE Scandal?

April 3, 2008 at 5:37 pm 3 comments

Last week it was reported that the American Society of Civil Engineers is being accused of a cover up. The claim states that the ASCE is covering up errors and brushing aside stricter building standards in order to protect engineers and governmental agencies from lawsuits.  These accusations stem from the recent disasters like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina and come from engineering experts on a team that was funded by the National Science Foundation.  At the time of the article, ASCE had no comment.

After 9/11, ASCE reported that they were happy with how long the structures that made up the World Trade Center held up, as they are not typically designed to withstand the impact of airplanes.  Forensic expert Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl believes otherwise, claiming the ASCE investigation into this disaster was misleading and noted it as “moral corruption.”

Regarding Hurricane Katrina, Raymond Seed, a levee expert at Cal-Berkeley accuses that ASCE and the Corps of Engineers worked together to “promulgate” (now that’s a fancy word) misguided reports and doctor information to divert any independent investigations from occurring.

With the influence that ASCE has in the civil engineering community, its strong commitment to excellence and its great history and heritage, I find it strikingly hard to believe that they would intentionally be involved in a cover up.  Though I guess these days anything is possible.  I believe it is good to have checks and balances and to have groups like the NSF conducting research and investigations into this matter…but are we really seeing corruption now from national associations?


Entry filed under: Civil Engineering Issues, US Infrastructure. Tags: , , , , , .

The Privatization of US Infrastructure Sustainability in Civil Engineering

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl  |  April 4, 2008 at 2:07 am

    (Date Submitted: April 3, 2008
    Dear Civil Engineering Readers:
    The news story “Engineer society accused of cover ups” was written by Associated Press writer Cain Burdeau and was released by AP on March 25th, 2008. To read the article, which was reported in several hundred newspapers, TV stations and other news outlets, you can search for “ASCE, Cain Burdeau Seed Astaneh”.
    You may also be interested to see a letter exchange between ASCE Presidents (two over the last two years) and I which all are posted a single PDF at URL:

    Click to access Astaneh-Letter-to-Mongan–April–1–2008.pdf

    In my letter to the President of the ASCE, I have offered him my time to resent our studies of the World Trade Center at the upcoming ASCE Structures Congress in Vancouver which contradicts the findings of ASCE Building Assessment Team for World Trade Center and its resulting report FEMA-403. I hope I will have a chance to share this information with ASCE membership, even though I have presented the results and findings in several professional conferences as key-note speeches including at the 7th International Conference on Multi-purpose High-rise Towers and Tall Buildings (2005), the Annual Degenkolb Forum of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (2006) and at the 6th Memorial Lecture on WTC, The Engineering Aspects (2007) among others.
    The PDF file at above URL has also the Associated Press news story as an appendix.

    Last but not least, I like to thank Civil Engineering Central for providing this fine public forum.

    Sincerely yours,
    Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, Ph.D., P.E.,
    Professor, University of California, Berkeley
    and Member of the American Society of Civil engineers (ASCE)
    (Web Site: and
    (End of Comment)

  • 2. ASCE Member X  |  April 3, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    The administration of the ASCE is apparently corrupt as are the top brass of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Both the ASCE and the Corps have fine upstanding members and loads of ASCE members are within the Corps.

    The profession is trained to follow rules and it is always best not to make waves with big clients. The Corps is the biggest client of civil engineering firms in the world. This income source creates a bit of a natural complicity. The ASCE administration is so complicit that they have traveled the world telling engineering audiences about how the political culture of New Orleans is to blame for the levee failures even though the ERP did not study New Orleans politics.

    Please see one presentation given last year and wonder how a beltway bureaucrat can honestly give a presentation with so much “information” about the political culture down there.
    The title is “New Orleans Levees”

    The presenter fails to tell the audience that Congress directed the Corps to design and construct a protection system for this area in the Flood Control Act of 1965 and is further dishonest in telling the audience that “no one was in charge”

  • 3. New Orleans News Ladder  |  April 3, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Yes, in answer to your question,
    ASCE is corrupt to every bone of their management. They have become absolute paid lackeys to the USACE, who themselves are corrupt self-seviant jail-house punks for big business.
    When is the last time you perused the ASCE website’s personel section for jobs in Public Relations? Try it. They have gone over to the dark side. Their PR dept is second to none, not even the people who work for the Corps:

    My father, a Ramblin’Wreck from Georgia Tech (top 17 of his class) and a retired Air Force Lt Colonel, held the opinion even before Katrina, that the heads of the Corps of Engineers should all be drawn out and shot if not for disobeying direct orders by over-stepping and under-performing their mandate, then just for their BAD ENGINEERING on the levees in New Orleans.

    I saw interviews with Raymond Seed. He was aghast and incredibly offended by the dark cloud that the ASCE casts over his profession.
    How about yours?

    Thank you,
    editor~New Orleans News Ladder


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