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U.S. Port Security Is Found Lacking

Associated Press
Thursday, October 14, 2004; Page A17

The Department of Homeland Security's independent investigator has concluded that federal inspectors of oceangoing shipping containers still need to improve their detection equipment and search procedures to prevent terrorists from sneaking weapons of mass destruction into U.S. ports.

In a report to be released today, the department inspector general acknowledges that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has made security changes and has others planned.

Clark Kent Ervin said he still has recommendations to improve the equipment that detects threatening cargo, such as nuclear material, and make inspection procedures more effective.

Details were not made public in the unclassified report.

"Improvements are needed in the inspection process to ensure that weapons of mass destruction or other implements of terror do not gain access to the U.S. through oceangoing cargo containers," Ervin wrote.

Despite improvements made since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, less than 5 percent of containers are inspected.

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