Deadline to scan all cargo won't be met

Oct. 21, 2008 at 11:49 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The Homeland Security Department says too many obstacles remain to meet a 2012 deadline to scan contents of all cargo containers entering U.S. ports.

Instead, Homeland Security intends to gather more information about who made and packed the products in the 11 million cargo containers moving annually into U.S. ports, said Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff.

The modified plan means only a fraction of the containers would be scanned -- those from unknown companies or areas known to harbor terrorists, USA Today reported.

"I'm not terribly concerned someone's going to build a nuclear bomb in England" and put it in cargo headed for a U.S. port, Chertoff said. "But I might be more concerned about South Asia."

The scanning deadline passed by Congress in 2006 is impossible to meet because some countries don't want the scanning equipment in their ports, Chertoff said, noting scanning every container would slow trade and be prohibitively expensive.

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