Legislators demand action on port security

| Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Several senators are using a report recently released by the Government Accountability Office as a rallying cry for something to be done about the nation’s port security.

In one of the more shocking aspects of the report, investigators used phony documents to smuggle enough radioactive material across U.S. borders in Texas and Washington State to make two small dirty bombs.

The Associated Press reported the GAO also found that the Homeland Security Department’s goal of installing 3,034 radiation detectors at ports across the U.S. by September 2009 was unlikely to happen and that the government will spend $342 million more than was expected to complete the job.

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-MN, told a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee on Tuesday, March 28, that “these issues must be addressed with a sense of urgency,” The AP reported.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-MI, called the report “an alarming wake-up call.”

Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, chairwoman of the Homeland Security, told the committee that something needs to be done soon.

“If terrorists were to obtain nuclear or radiological material and smuggle it into this country, the consequences could be catastrophic,” she said. “A tremendous loss of life and a crippling blow to our economy.”

Comments