Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The gravest threat?

It seems to me there's a spin machine whose job is to keep alive the perception that terrorists lurk around every corner and are waiting to launch another suprise attack at any moment. Here's an article with an interestingly strange premise ... the worst danger America faces is dirty bombs sneaking into the U.S. in cargo containers.

Think inside the box (Stephen E. Flynn and Lawrence M. Wein The New York Times, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2005)

This week President George W. Bush will seek to focus attention on border security and immigration reform. But his proposals won't protect Americans from our gravest cross-border threat: the possibility that a ship, truck or train will one day import a 40-foot cargo container in which terrorists have hidden a dirty bomb or nuclear weapon.

The Bush administration maintains that it has a smart strategy to reduce this risk. A new 24-Hour Rule requires that importers report the contents of their containers to customs inspectors one day before the boxes are loaded on ships bound for the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security's National Targeting Center then reviews the data, checking against other intelligence to determine which boxes may pose a threat. Although containers deemed high risk are inspected at cooperating foreign ports or upon entry, the rest - more than 90 percent - land without any perusal.

I wonder just who decided that this scenario was the most likely one to unfold?

Granted ... it's clear that with the vast majority of cargo containers going uninspected, that all sorts of nefarious things could be happening. But wouldn't the most likely scenario be drug runners? Drug runners have been proving themselves for years very capable and determined in getting their illicit wares into the U.S. Why wouldn't they choose such an obvious method?

Dirty bombs? Gimme a break! That's just another of the crazy schemes the administration has been foisting on us since September 11, 2001.