Thursday, February 26, 2009

Napolitano: DHS Likely to Miss Cargo Scanning Deadline

( – Juliana Gruenwald, CongressDaily)

In her first hearing before Congress since being confirmed, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today pledged to make progress in addressing the significant challenges facing the department. But she acknowledged her department is unlikely to meet a 2012 deadline for scanning all U.S.-bound cargo containers in foreign seaports.

“To do 100% scanning requires lots of agreements” with other countries, Napolitano said in response to a question from Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., who said the Bush administration did not push hard enough to meet a deadline it said was not doable. She noted there are many differences between scanning and screening – which does not require a physical examination of the cargo – and said “we’re close to 100% screening.”

But, she added, “my initial review is that the 2012 deadline [for scanning] won’t be reached under the current state of the program.” Republicans had opposed such a deadline, and a minority committee aide disputed DeFazio’s claim that the Bush administration did not work hard enough to meet the 2012 deadline. Read more here.