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Homeland Security Fail: GAO Reports A Dangerous Lack of Port Security
Posted By Jeff Dunetz On January 21, 2011 @ 4:00 pm In NewsReal Blog | Comments Disabled
While many American passengers boarding Airplanes are being forced to make a choice between full body X-ray or getting their junk rubbed, foreign seafarers are basically getting “carte blanche” to anonymously enter the country. According to the report the Customs and Border Protection officers go on the Cargo Ships to inspect the cargo and the manifests etc, but hey have no portable electronic hook-ups to double check who they found on a particular ship with the lists pre-approved by their bosses at Department of Homeland Security.
This report should not come as a surprise to our “protectors” a the DHS, as the GAO report also claims the State Department has already warned DHS of this security hole, and told them it could be exploited by terrorists.
CBP conducts cargo vessel admissibility inspections on board the vessel without the benefit of tools to electronically verify a seafarer’s identity or immigration status because of a lack of available connectivity to network communications in the maritime environment. DHS has prioritized the acquisition of a mobile version of this technology capability but expects it to take several years before the technology is developed and available. CBP agrees that obtaining this capability is important but has not assessed the risks of not having it. Until CBP obtains the capability, identifying the risks and options to address them could better position CBP in preventing illegal immigration at seaports…By not having the ability to electronically verify the documents, CBP’s methods for inspecting cargo vessel crew offers less assurance that CBP is identifying fraud among documents presented by the foreign seafarers seeking admission into the United States.
Think about that for a second, the supposed richest nation in the world needs a few years to come up with a program where CBP agents can access the data remotely. Have you ever returned a rental car? You see that little hand held gadget where they enter your mileage, it accesses the data and prints out a receipt? If Avis can to it, why can’t the DHS? Maybe the DHS does not know how to try harder.
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