Interesting piece in the NY Times about the number of problems associated with securing and examining shipping containers:
The Department of Homeland Security’s effort to extend its antiterrorism campaign overseas by enlisting help from importers and foreign ports has been so flawed that the program may have made it easier at times to smuggle unconventional weapons into the United States, Congressional officials say.
Homeland Security has reduced inspections in the United States of cargo coming from 36 foreign ports and 5,000 importers that were certified under its antiterrorism initiatives. But the department has failed to confirm whether most of those importers have tightened security or whether thousands of high-risk containers headed to the United States were inspected at ports overseas, agency records show.
“We have folks here who have the right intentions,” said Senator Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota, chairman of an investigative panel scheduled to hold an oversight hearing on the programs on Thursday. “But rather than making it harder for folks with evil intentions to do harm to this country, we have in place a system that creates the potential for greater vulnerability.”
It is probably unfair to criticize the efforts when you really consider the mind-boggling task that this is, with so many millions of shipping containers entering the United States every year. However, a snarky comment noting we will get toissues like this after the important issues of the day are done, like killing the filibuster or criminalizing dirty television- that probably wouldn’ be too over the top.
At least, for a change, a Republican is on the right side of an issue on something.