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Obama Breaks His Promise To Strengthen U.S. Port Security

- July 16, 2012

The Obama Administration Failed To Meet The Deadline Set By Congress To Ensure That 100 Percent Of Shipping Containers Are Scanned For Radioactive Material Before Entering The U.S. "The Obama administration has failed to meet a legal deadline for scanning all shipping containers for radioactive material before they reach the United States, a requirement aimed at strengthening maritime security and preventing terrorists from smuggling a nuclear device into any of the nation's 300 sea and river ports. The Department of Homeland Security was given until this month to ensure that 100 percent of inbound shipping containers are screened at foreign ports." (Douglas Frantz, "Port Security: U.S. Fails To Meet Deadline For Scanning Of Cargo Containers," The Washington Post , 7/15/12)

  • DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano Said The $16 Billion Screening Plan Was "Too Costly And Cumbersome." "But the department's secretary, Janet Napolitano, informed Congress in May that she was extending a two-year blanket exemption to foreign ports because the screening is proving too costly and cumbersome. She said it would cost $16 billion to implement scanning measures at the nearly 700 ports worldwide that ship to the United States." (Douglas Frantz, "Port Security: U.S. Fails To Meet Deadline For Scanning Of Cargo Containers," The Washington Post , 7/15/12)
     
  • The GAO Has Warned That A Nuclear Detonation At A U.S. Port Could Cause Up To $1 Trillion In Damages. "The Government Accountability Office has warned that a nuclear device could be detonated while at a port - containers often sit for days awaiting radiation checks - causing billions of dollars in damage in addition to the loss of life. Estimates of damage caused by a nuclear detonation at a major port range from tens of billions of dollars to $1 trillion." (Douglas Frantz, "Port Security: U.S. Fails To Meet Deadline For Scanning Of Cargo Containers," The Washington Post , 7/15/12)

Obama In 2008: "Barack Obama And Joe Biden Will Redouble Our Efforts To Develop Technology That Can Detect Radiation And Determine The Danger It Poses." "Despite the 9/11 Commission's strong recommendation that the government significantly improve port security, the Bush administration has consistently under-budgeted security at the nation's ports by billions of dollars. Barack Obama has been a consistent supporter of strengthening our port security, and voted to mandate screening of all inbound cargo to the U.S., improve scanning of cargo at foreign ports, and promote greater sharing of shipping data across nations. But cargo screening alone is not enough if our technology can't reliably detect deadly radiation. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will redouble our efforts to develop technology that can detect radiation and determine the danger it poses. They will work with the maritime transportation industry to integrate this technology into their operations so as to maximize security without causing economic disruption." ("Strengthening Homeland Security," Obama For America, 10/17/08)

  • In 2006, Obama Criticized The Bush Administration For Under-Funding Cargo Screening At U.S. Ports Saying, "There Are Too Many Glaring Gaps In Our Security Efforts Here At Home." "Unfortunately, in the more than two years since the bipartisan 9/11 Commission released its report, the Administration has failed to implement many of its most important recommendations and still seems to suffer from the 'failure of imagination' that the 9/11 Commission identified. As a result, there are too many glaring gaps in our security efforts here at home. From improving security for our rail and transit systems and our chemical plants, to increasing cargo screening in our airports and ports, the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission have been underfunded, or worse, ignored." (Press Release, Senator Barack Obama, Letter To President Bush On Working With Congress To Implement 9/11 Commission, Washington, DC, 8/15/06)

Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA): "I Personally Do Not Believe They Intend To Comply With The Law ." "'I personally do not believe they intend to comply with the law,' Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), co-author of the 2007 law, said in an interview. 'This is a real terrorist threat, and it has a solution. We can't afford to wait until a catastrophic attack.'" (Douglas Frantz, "Port Security: U.S. Fails To Meet Deadline For Scanning Of Cargo Containers," The Washington Post , 7/15/12)


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