Internal Audit Criticizes CBP Field Operations for not Testing Rail Cargo from Canada and Mexico for Radiation
Federal border agents are supposed to check all inbound freight trains for radiation threats, but a government watchdog found this rule is often ignored.
A radiation isotope identifier device (RIID) is used by the Office of Field Operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection to determine if there are nuclear materials on trains and trucks coming into the United States. But out of 222 rail shipments requiring examination by the RIID that went through six unidentified ports, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general discovered 160 of the shipments, or 72% of the total, were not checked using the specialized equipment, according to a report (pdf) released earlier this month.
The IG’s report noted customs agents “may have failed to require examinations of rail shipments that were at a higher risk to contain contraband, dangerous goods, or weapons of mass destruction.” In addition, the agents “may also have failed to detect potential instruments of terrorism or dangerous materials from entering the United States.”
The IG made six recommendations to improve the use of radiation detectors at U.S. borders; Customs and Border Protection concurred with all of them.
To Learn More:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Did Not Effectively Target and Examine Rail Shipments From Canada and Mexico (Department of Homeland Security, Inspector General) (pdf)
Cross-Border Railroad’s Terror Threat (by Matt Potter, San Diego Reader)
Homeland Security Cancels $230 Million Radiation Detection Program (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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