U.S. Widens Checks at Foreign Ports

The Bush administration has decided to place teams of American inspectors at major seaports in Muslim nations and other smaller, strategically located foreign ports to prevent terrorists from using cargo containers to smuggle chemical, biological or nuclear weapons into the United States, senior administration officials said.

The inspectors, they said, will be provided with radiation monitors, chemical detectors and other equipment to inspect “high risk” metal cargo containers before they are placed on ships bound for the United States. The move is the second phase in a government program begun shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to station American customs inspectors overseas to work side by side with their foreign counterparts in searching for unconventional weapons. The first phase focused on 20 large container ports in Europe and Asia, none of them in countries with predominantly Muslim populations. Full Story

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