Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh, those weapons of mass effect....

While we haven't talked too much about the coast guard and Customs & Border Protection lately, it appears they've been pretty busy protecting us against weapons of 'mass effect'. Or, at least, telling us about the people who have been.

A few days ago, San Diego’s local 10 News ran an interview with the San Diego assistant port director, Mr Hallor, (who is also a CBP officer) on the exact nature of the work CBP does. It seems they got a lot more than they had initially expected though...

About halfway through the interview, 10News's Mitch Blacher asked the officer if they'd found anything dangerous, including chemical/biological/radiological weapons. And then....

"You ever found one?" asked Blacher with a boyish secrecy, referring to WMDs.

If you check out the video link, you then see assistant port director closes his eyes as the reporter again asks him once again if weapons have ever been found in San Diego . Finally, around 1:25 a public affairs officer steps in and advises him.

"Not at this location," Hallor said.

"But they have found them?" asked Blacher.

"Yes," said Hallor.

"You never found one in San Diego though?" Blacher asked.

"I would say at the port of San Diego we have not," Hallor said.

The interview is halted before Hallor was able to answer any further questions.
Customs and Border Protection later (23 days later) said in a statement it had "not specifically had any incidents with nuclear devices or nuclear materials at our ports of entry." Hallor also noted in the interview that in this fiscal year, CBP had not found anything. Oh, how important phrasing can be!

While 100 per cent of the cargo that is on passenger aircraft headed the United States must be screened by the end of this year, we are nowhere near these numbers for incoming shipping containers or cars.

Is it more comforting to know that these things are found (or, not found), and naught a word is spoken about them? The Daily Mail, of course, thinks we've got a massive government cover-up on our hands. I think, for sure, we've got a massive learning experience on our hands... but what do we do? Do we devote more efforts to scanning incoming cargo (at a cost of 18 million dollars per cargo scanner) , put more responsibility on other nations to scan outgoing cargo, or just hope the media never finds out about these things?

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