Port Security

PORT SECURITY….Is 100% scanning of all containers coming into American ports an unrealistic goal? Republicans may think so, but experts say otherwise:

This is not a pie-in-the-sky idea. Since January 2005, every container entering the truck gates of two of the world’s busiest container terminals, in Hong Kong, has passed through scanning and radiation detection devices.

Images of the containers’ contents are then stored on computers so that they can be scrutinized by American or other customs authorities almost in real time.

….If they agreed to impose a common security fee of roughly $20 per container, similar to what passengers are now used to paying when they purchase airline tickets, they could recover the cost of installing and operating this system worldwide. This, in turn, would furnish a powerful deterrent for terrorists who might be tempted to convert the ubiquitous cargo container into a poor man’s missile.

Hong Kong’s pilot program has scanned 1.5 million containers in the past two years and officials there report that it hasn’t slowed down operations in any way. The cost to install high-end scanners at ports worldwide would be around $1.5 billion, and not only would it improve port security immediately, but the resulting database of scanned images would be useful for both intelligence agencies and law enforcement.

So why are Democratic proposals to require 100% scanning routinely voted down by Republicans ? as they were once again yesterday? Because it’s unrealistic? Or because Republicans are afraid to tell their campaign contributors that they’re going to have to pay a security fee of $20 per container?