Dirty bomb components 'smuggled' into U.S.

| 3/28/2006

Counterfeit documents and enough radioactive material to make two “dirty bombs” slipped past U.S. border protection in Texas and Washington recently – but it wasn’t by terrorists. It was by undercover investigators conducting a test.

The test was used to identify weaknesses as the federal government prepares to give U.S. Customs and Border Protection more tools to combat border threats.

The radioactive component, Cesium 137 triggered alarms, but the undercover agents fooled border guards with counterfeit documents and were allowed to come into the country.

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-MN, accused the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of being stuck in a pre-Sept. 11, 2001, mindset, and called for more modernization.

President Bush’s administration announced that within 45 days, border protection would get more tools to do its job, particularly with verifying documents.