Homeland Security officials said they are moving to tighten overseas checks of U.S.-bound cargo containers deemed likely to be hiding nuclear contraband.
Federal authorities hope foreign seaports will eventually scan all cargo they consider at “high risk” of containing weapon-usable nuclear or radiological materials, according to Wednesday testimony by Kevin McAleenan, acting deputy commissioner for Customs and Border Protection.
About 15 percent still is not checked before reaching U.S. shores, McAleenan said at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“We’re currently … assessing how the threats have changed” in an effort to close the screening gap, he told committee lawmakers.
“Are [there] certain strategically important ports that we can add capability? Can we work with additional countries to encourage them to take some measures before [ships are loaded]?”
McAleenan discussed the focus on “high-risk” cargo about a month after Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told lawmakers his department would not meet a July deadline set by Congress for all U.S.-bound shipping containers to undergo screening at foreign ports for smuggled nuclear and radiological materials. Officials previously postponed the statutory screening deadline by two years.
The mandate is “highly improbable, hugely expensive [and] not the best use of taxpayer resources to meet this country’s port security and homeland security needs,” Johnson was quoted as saying in a May 5 letter to Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), the Senate Homeland Security panel’s chairman.
Johnson wrote that his department would focus its efforts on increasing “the percentage of high-risk cargo scanned by prioritizing diplomatic engagement with host governments to increase their support of current [Container Security Initiative] operations.”
The department would also “discuss potential expansion of the initiative to additional key ports to ensure that such deployments align with high-risk cargo,” he wrote.
Correction: This article was modified to correct the first name of Senator Tom Carper.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."