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Saturday, March 11, 2006

 

AP: Study shows port-security lapses

By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer -- Saturday, 2 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Lapses by private port operators, shipping lines or truck drivers could allow terrorists to smuggle weapons of mass destruction into the United States, according to a government review of security at American seaports.

A container ship  passes the New York skyline Friday, March, 10, 2006. President Bush today expressed concern that a scuttled deal for a state-owned Arab firm to manage some U.S. port facilities would send the wrong message to Middle Eastern allies in the global war on terror. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)A container ship  passes the New York skyline, right. President Bush today expressed concern that a scuttled deal for a state-owned Arab firm to manage some U.S. port facilities would send the wrong message to Middle Eastern allies in the global war on terror. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The $75 million, three-year study by the Homeland Security Department included inspections at a New Jersey cargo terminal involved in the dispute over a Dubai company's now-abandoned bid to take over significant operations at six major U.S. ports.

The previously undisclosed results from the study found that cargo containers can be opened secretly during shipment to add or remove items without alerting U.S. authorities, according to government documents marked "sensitive security information" and obtained by The Associated Press.

The study found serious lapses by private companies at foreign and American ports, aboard ships, and on trucks and trains "that would enable unmanifested materials or weapons of mass destruction to be introduced into the supply chain."

The study, expected to be completed this fall, used satellites and experimental monitors to trace roughly 20,000 cargo containers out of the millions arriving each year from Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Most containers are sealed with mechanical bolts that can be cut and replaced or have doors that can be removed by dismantling hinges.

The risks from smuggled weapons are especially worrisome because U.S. authorities largely decide which cargo containers to inspect based on shipping records of what is thought to be inside.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

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