- The Washington Times - Friday, October 13, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush signed a bill today to help prevent terrorists from sneaking a nuclear, chemical or germ weapon into the United States inside one of the 11 million shipping containers that enter the nation each year — many without inspection.

“We’re going to protect our ports. We’re going to defend this homeland, and we’re going to win this war on terror,” Mr. Bush said.

The president used the bill-signing ceremony to assert that Republicans are tough on terror, a key issue in congressional elections just less than four weeks away.

He didn’t mention an unrelated provision that seeks to put teeth into laws that forbid most online gambling. Instead, Mr. Bush focused on the multiple ways the legislation tightens security and closes a loophole in anti-terror defenses, especially at ports.

He noted that the SAFE Port Act authorizes the development of high-tech inspection equipment so customs agents can check cargo containers for dangerous materials without having to open them.

It requires radiation-detection technology at 22 of the nation’s busiest ports by the end of next year.

“We’ll do everything we can to prevent an attack, but if the terrorists succeed in launching an attack, we’ll be ready to respond,” Mr. Bush said.

The president said the bill codifies the Container Security Initiative, which deploys U.S. inspectors to dozens of foreign ports on five continents where they can screen cargo bound for the United States. He said it also codifies the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, a joint public-private sector initiative in which private shippers agree to improve their own security measures and in return can receive benefits, including expedited clearance through U.S. ports.

Mr. Bush also noted that the bill provides additional authority for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, which was established to guard against the threat of terrorists smuggling a nuclear device into the country. And the act requires the Department of Homeland Security to establish a plan to speed the resumption of trade in the event of a terrorist attack on a U.S. port or waterway.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide