Governmental Affairs To Examine Cargo Container Security

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Joe Lieberman (D-CT) will hold a hearing on Thursday, March 20, 2003, to examine the federal government’s efforts to ensure that the millions of cargo containers entering U.S. ports are not used as weapons of terrorism. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection inspects only about 4 percent of the 21,000 containers that arrive daily at U.S. ports from foreign nations. To bolster that effort, the Department of Homeland Security has implemented two additional programs to target and screen high risk shipments. The committee will examine the success of these programs and the challenges that remain.

“Whether the threat is nuclear, chemical or biological – whether it comes from a terrorist network such as al Qaeda or a terrorist state such as Iraq, cargo containers offer a frighteningly simple and anonymous way to smuggle weapons of mass destruction into the United States,” Collins said.

WHAT: “Cargo Containers: The Next Terrorist Target?” WHEN: 9:30 a.m., Thursday, March 20, 2003

WHERE: Room SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building

WITNESSES: Panel 1 Asa Hutchinson, Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security, Department of Homeland Security: Panel 2 Peter Hall, U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont; Dr. Stephen Flynn, Senior Fellow for National Security Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Captain Jeffery Monroe, Director, Department of Transportation and Ports, Portland, Maine; Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution.