Friday, February 26, 2010

Napolitano Clashes with Security Panel

(The Journal of Commerce)

Congress and the administration squared off in the latest round of a two-year-old sparring match over100 percent cargo scanning, when Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday testified before the House Homeland Security Committee about the 2011 Department of Homeland Security budget.

Napolitano fended off questions from Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., who wanted to know when DHS would meet a congressional requirement for 100 percent scanning of all containers at foreign ports before they’re loaded aboard U.S.-bound ships. In 2007 Congress set a 2012 deadline for scanning all containers, but gave DHS the opportunity to extend the deadline if 100 percent scanning wasn’t feasible. Since then officials of the Bush and Obama administrations, including Napolitano, have testified that Customs and Border Protection could not meet the 2012 deadline.

Thompson noted that the proposed 2011 DHS budget includes a 48 percent reduction in money for the Secure Freight Initiative, the pilot program that tested the100 percent scanning idea. Customs cut $16.6 million from SFI, and said the pilot would stop at three of the five SFI ports. Read more here.