Border and Port Security

Primary Sources

Security and Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act

This legislation calls for the establishment of standards and equipment to scan for radiation all imported containers entering US ports. It includes protocols for emergency response, involving cooperation between local, state, and federal governments and the private sector. The act also calls for the inspection of "high-risk containers" before arrival to the US, and a strengthening of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program.

See more in United States; Border and Port Security; Terrorism

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GAO: Maritime Security: Information-Sharing Efforts Are Improving

Author: Stephen L. Caldwell

This report focuses on information sharing in the federal effort to secure US ports against a potential terrorist attack. The Coast Guard has lead responsibility in coordinating maritime information sharing efforts. The Coast Guard has established area maritime security committees--forums that involve federal and nonfederal officials who identify and address risks in a port. The Coast Guard and other agencies have sought to further enhance information sharing and port security operations by establishing interagency operational centers--command centers that tie together the efforts of federal and nonfederal participants. This testimony is a summary and update to an April 2005 report, and identifies barriers that have hindered information sharing.

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GAO: Border Security: Investigators Transported Radioactive Sources Across Our Nation's Borders at Two Locations

Author: Gregory D. Kutz

According to this July 2006 report, the GAO conducted an investigation testing whether radioactive sources could be smuggled across US borders. GAO purchased a small amount of radioactive sources and one secure container used to safely store and transport the material from a commercial source over the telephone. GAO's investigators, using counterfeit documents, were able to enter the United States with enough radioactive sources in the trunks of their vehicles to make two dirty bombs. GAO investigators were able to successfully represent themselves as employees of a fictitious company present a counterfeit bill of lading and a counterfeit NRC document during the secondary inspections at both locations. The CBP inspectors never questioned the authenticity of the investigators' counterfeit bill of lading or the counterfeit NRC document authorizing them to receive, acquire, possess, and transfer radioactive sources.

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GAO: Transportation Security Administration: Oversight of Explosive Detection Systems

This report from the GAO examines the systems used by the Transportation Security Administration to screen all checked baggage for explosive devices or traces. The report finds that the TSA did not follow sound contracting practices in administering contracts for explosive screening. As a result, the TSA does not have reasonable assurance that contractors are performing as required and that full payment is justified based on meeting mean downtime requirements.

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Henry Farrell: Airline Passenger Data Dispute is Merely "An Internal EU Dust-Up"

Henry Farrell interviewed by Eben Kaplan

Henry Farrell, a political science assistant professor at The George Washington University, says the European Court of Justice's recent ruling against an agreement with the United States to share airline passenger data is merely "an internal EU dust-up." He says the deal is likely to be renegotiated with the same terms but stronger legal footing.

See more in EU; Border and Port Security