Where’s the security? MSNBC reports that a new report by the Government Accountability Office shows that Department of Homeland Security is “two years behind schedule in installing radiation monitors in ports and not likely to have them all done, even by 2009.”
The DHS claims they have made more progress in “installing detection equipment at the borders, but there investigators found another hole in the system.” Senator Norm Coleman(R) tells NBC News “that undercover GAO investigators were able to bring enough radioactive material into the U.S. to make two dirty bombs — penetrating both the northern and southern borders.” Monitors detected the radiological material, but undercover agents produced fake papers and got the material in.
Eight months ago John Kerry called for an investigation into port security in order to “fix gaping holes in the security of America’s ports.” Finding from that report were released on March 16.
Kerry said, “It’s been more than four years since 9/11, and the government still can’t get port security right. The incompetent handling of the Dubai Ports deal was just the tip of the iceberg. Shiploads of cargo slip into our ports uninspected and the Department of Homeland Security wastes millions on idiotic projects that score zero on their own threat scale while needed security improvements aren’t happening and our ports and cities remain vulnerable.”
AP News reported on the GAO finding that “In a test last year, the small amounts of cesium-137, which is used in industrial gauges, triggered radiation alarms in Texas and Washington state. The material was enough to make two small “dirty bombs,” officials said, yet U.S. customs agents permitted the investigators to enter the United States because they were tricked with counterfeit documents.”
Talk about massive failures in keeping our nation secure! Voters in the ’04 election that bought into the Bush meme that they were the national security experts, should have listened to John Kerry, who campaigned on port security and stated over and over again that the Bush administration had failed to protect our nation’s ports and other entry points. We hate to have to drive the point home over and over again, but the Bush administration has been proven once again to be miserable failures and John Kerry was right in ’04 and subsequently since in speaking out on this issue.
UPDATE: CNN reports, first of two hearings on the GAO reports by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations are scheduled to begin today.
The focus will be on what the federal government has done to protect the country against nuclear terrorism. This week’s hearings come after almost three years of bipartisan and bicameral investigations into the subject.