Agents slip by security with nuclear material

Undercover government investigators using fake documents successfully passed through security measures at several ports around the country with enough raw materials to make two “dirty” nuclear bombs.

At the request of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the government’s watchdog arm conducted undercover operations to test radiation detection equipment installed at several ports around the country. While the technology works, undercover Government Accountability Office investigators using fake documents still passed the border crossings with enough material to build the bombs.

“I am alarmed that undercover investigators were able to smuggle in enough radioactive material to detonate two dirty bombs on American soil,” said Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), chairman of the subcommittee. “The reality is that it is easier to buy low-grade radioactive material for a dirty bomb than it is to buy cold medicine.”

Coleman and the subcommittee’s ranking member, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), today are starting a series of hearings on port security, looking at the layered defense against nuclear terrorism.

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