House to weigh US port dirty-bomb vulnerability

House to weigh US port dirty-bomb vulnerability

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is planning to hold a hearing to assess the vulnerability of U.S. ports to potential dirty-bomb attacks next week. 

The panel's Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation subcommittee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, titled “Prevention of and Response to the Arrival of a Dirty Bomb at a U.S. Port.”

Officials with the panel said it is important to weigh U.S. port security because "the United States relies on ocean transportation for 95 percent of cargo tonnage that moves in and out of the country." 

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"The 361 U.S. ports that receive this cargo connect to a vast transportation network throughout the interior of the country," the panel said in a statement announcing the port security hearing.  

"The ability to quickly transfer cargo from ships to trucks or railcars has been viewed as a possible conduit and target for terrorist activities," the panel continued. "While the Department of Homeland Security has previously reported that the likelihood of a terrorist smuggling weapons of mass destruction into the country in shipping containers is low, the consequences of such an attack — revenue losses, loss of lives, and disruption in manufacturing and other economic activities — are potentially high."  

The committee is scheduled to hear testimony from officials with the United States Coast Guard; Domestic Nuclear Detection Office; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Government Accountability Office; Los Alamos National Laboratory; Sandia National Laboratories; American Association of Port Authorities; and Northeastern University. 

The hearing will be chaired by Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan HunterTrump denies Gaetz asked him for blanket pardon Gaetz, on the ropes, finds few friends in GOP Trust, transparency, and tithing is not enough to sustain democracy MORE (R-Calif.).