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Speaking of border security
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, March 28, 2006

This ought to give you a "warm fuzzy" concerning that area:
Undercover federal investigators say they were able to drive into the United States from Canada and Mexico last year with enough radioactive material in the trunks of their rented cars to build two so-called dirty bombs.

The exercises, conducted on Dec. 14 at unidentified border crossings, were carried out by the Government Accountability Office at the behest of the Senate subcommittee on investigations, which has been analyzing security at ports and border crossings.
Now here's the more interesting part:
Two senior committee staffers said the only good news from the episode was that new radiation detection devices now being used at most overland border crossing functioned properly and alerted U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
IOW, it was detected. The bad news?
The bad news is that the border officials let the cars pass through after inspecting their doctored paperwork.
Obviously this can be fixed with some manner of verification process, or so one would think. But here's the problem. You really don't have to go to all the trouble of smuggling in enough radioactive material to make a dirty bomb:
GAO investigators posing as employees of a fictitious Washington company said they were able to buy radioactive material by phone and have it mailed to them at an address in the nation's capital.

"This was to demonstrate that anyone can purchase small quantities of radioactive sources for stockpiling because suppliers are not required to exercise any due diligence in determining whether the buyer has a legitimate use for the radioactive sources," the report said.

Radioactive materials are commonly shipped commercially for a variety of medical, scientific and industrial applications.
That's where the "warm fuzzy" comes in ... not.

I mean think about it: walk across the border, set yourself up in the target town, set up a fictitious company, order in the radioactive material you need and go to work building and placing your dirty bomb. The most difficult aspect of the whole thing is getting the explosives needed to make the bomb, and that simply wouldn't be that difficult for a dedicated terrorist (in fact it would probably be something he or she "imported" as they crossed the border illegally).

Lots and lots of work to be done in the border security area.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Would it be too much to wonder what ’radioactive materials’ they were dealing in? Most low-level radioactive materials are pretty harmless.
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
This is five and a half years after 9-11. Its a good thing there is not a war on.
Written By: cindy bravo
URL: http://
Well, I’m a techno-geek... what did they order? how many kilograms did they order? Some things are worse than others? Ordering a hundred kilograms of DEPLETED uranium is different from placing an order for .5 Kilograms of Highly Enriched Uranium...

It’s like the fellow in the 1970’s that calculated that he could build a Atomic bomb for less than $5,000 and use a local machine shopt to do it. SURE he could, in theory, well not even in theory... but it sure made some headlines. This is a portion of the National Security apparat releasing some portions of the their story to ensure greater funding.

Without a few more details it just doesn’t make me too concerned. The explosives are the EASY thing to come by, BTW, I’d say. You can make your own, you don’t need Semtex or C-4, an ANFO bomb will do nicely, you just need to scatter your material... OOOPS there’s another question, was the material scintered? If not then it becomes a much more complex task to make your dirty bomb. building a dirty bomb, and detonating it is a fairly complex task, not simply transporting SOME material across state lines.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://

While you raise excellent technical points, let’s remember that the psychological impact of even a few dozen people dying in a US hospital from radiation poisoning would be enormous. Remember the anthrax attacks? Technologically primitive; there are FAR more effective ways to use anthrax as a WMD than putting it in evelopes.

But it scared the bejesus out of a lot of people.
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://

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