Thursday, December 04, 2008

Chertoff: 100 Percent Scanning Impossible

Ari Natter
Associate Editor

A congressional mandate that requires 100 percent of cargo originating outside the United States be scanned before it reaches U.S. ports is "not possible," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday.

"You are not going to get 100 percent because you can't make every other country do that," Chertoff said in remarks made at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

"And when people in Congress go 'how dare you say you're not going to do 100 percent,' I feel like saying 'well what do you want me to do? Promise we'll invade every country that doesn't allow us to scan?'"

The requirement that all incoming cargo be screened in foreign ports by 2012 was contained in homeland security law enacted in 2007.

Chertoff has frequently wrangled with Democratic lawmakers over its implementation, but said in his written remarks that the issue will be something that incoming DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano will need to address with Congress.

"It will be the next secretary," he said. "Maybe even the one after that."