Inteligencia y Seguridad Frente Externo En Profundidad Economia y Finanzas Transparencia
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Inteligencia y Seguridad  
 
14/12/2004 | US port security seriously underfunded, group says

Reuters Staff

 

WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - An attack on U.S. seaports could cripple the economy, but inadequate funding means ports are vulnerable and must "scrape the bottom of the barrel" for help, a port and shipping advocacy group said on Monday.

Jay Grant, director of the Port Security Council, said Congress had authorized only about a third of the $400 million next year that ports believed was "absolutely the minimum necessary to protect their facilities
from a terrorist attack."

The Port Security Council is a lobbying group which represents major port authorities in the United States and elsewhere in the Americas, as well as shipping companies, cruise lines, importers and exporters.

Grant, who was speaking to a conference at George Mason University in Virginia, said the government had "overreacted on aviation security funding" to the detriment of seaports.

Asked to comment on Grant's remarks, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said: "This administration has invested billions of dollars in port security since Sept. 11, not only to protect the supply chain but also to strengthen our ports here at home. This begins even before cargo is loaded onto a ship in a foreign country."

About 50 percent of all U.S. imports arrive at the country's 361 ports each year.

Despite a series of new U.S. and international programs that have beefed up port and vessel security since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, experts say huge gaps remain in the long chain between the origin of goods and their final destination, making ports a vulnerable link.

"Spending billions of dollars on programs making all airline passengers remove their shoes at airports, or giving chemical protection suits to firefighters in remote areas of the country does not add any real value to fighting terrorism," Grant said.

He said the government should instead allocate scarce resources based on an analysis of which areas present specific risks or require additional attention.

The bipartisan Sept. 11 Commission -- which was charged with investigating how America failed to avert the attacks -- noted in its final report that "over 90 percent of the nation's $5.3 billion annual investment in the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) goes to aviation -- to fight the last war."

Reuters (Estados Unidos)

 



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