Napolitano questions 100% inspection deadline
Testifying before Congress for the first time in her capacity as secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano said the law requiring all inbound ocean containers to be scanned at overseas ports is fraught with complications that make meeting a 2012 deadline all but impossible.
Napolitano is still conducting a 360-degree review of the department's operations and policies, but noted under questioning from Rep. Peter DeFazio that she agrees with the previous administration's assessment that such a measure has practical limitations.
• Napolitano doesn't embrace scan-all law
'My initial view is that the 2012 deadline is not going to work and we're going to have to work on what we do beyond that,' she told the House Homeland Security Committee. 'To do 100-percent scanning requires, for example, agreements with many, many countries. There are lots of issues with that. There is a difference between screening and scanning in the lexicon of the cargo world and I believe we're close to 100-percent screening now. So, my initial view is that the 2012 is a deadline that may not be reached under the current state of the program.'
Napolitano's comments parallel written responses she gave to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during her confirmation process. As reported then by AmericanShipper.com, Napolitano stated that extending the deadline must be considered because of difficulty implementing a scan-all cargo security regime.
DeFazio, D-Ore., criticized the attitude of the previous DHS secretary, Michael Chertoff, towards the comprehensive inspection requirement but quietly accepted Napolitano's response. ' Eric Kulisch