Susan Collins, R-ME, and Joe Lieberman, D-CT, have expressed
concern about potential weaknesses in the Department of Homeland
Security's port security programs and are seeking more information
from the agency about what steps it is taking to improve those programs, Maritime Global Net reported.
a letter to Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security
Asa Hutchinson, the senators raised questions about flaws in the
system, which is supposed to target high-risk containers for inspection.
one small lapse in security at our ports or at other points of entry
can have disastrous consequences for our nation," Collins said.
"While we have taken steps to protect our ports, it is clear
that they are still 'ripe for exploitation,' as one security expert
security of our nation's 361 ports is an Achilles' heel in the domestic
war against terrorism," Lieberman said. "Because so few
of the containers that come through these ports are inspected, it's
far too easy for dangerous materials, weapons and people to slip
into the country."
some progress made by DHS, our port security will be seriously undermined
unless urgent improvements are made to the risk-analysis program,"
senators maintain that Customs and Border Protection still relies
on information solely from cargo manifests, which have been unreliable
stated, "The limited detail of these manifests is insufficient
for identifying security problems and should be expanded significantly
to include purchase-order data collected starting at the time of
also said that Customs and Border Protection lacks a comprehensive
program to track containers through multiple shipment points starting
prior to the point of loading. This gap could, the senators claim,
allow terrorists to hide the true contents of a container by moving
it through numerous ports, collection points and transportation
agency should eliminate this vulnerability by expanding its program
to collect data from all ports of call, as well as track containers
from port of origin to port of destination,” the senators said.
two politicians also say that Customs and Border Protection does
not have a credible process in place to ensure "low-risk"
containers are really low risk.
stated: "Random checks should be instituted to provide a benchmark
and assess the effectiveness of the new Automated Targeting System,
which evaluates the risks of each container."