TREASURY OFFICIAL: CUSTOMS AT æCODE RED,Æ CARGO FLOWS INTO U.S.
U.S Deputy Treasury Secretary Ken Dam said Wednesday that while the U.S. Customs Service was placed on “code red” or high alert, cargo continues to flow into the United States.
“For the record, Customs never closed the U.S. borders,” following the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington Tuesday, Dam said. “Rather, the highest level of security has had the effect of slowing border crossings. Commercial cargo continues to flow into the U.S.”
Dam said Customs was working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the INS and other government agencies to insure safety as cargo entered American borders.
A Customs spokesperson said the U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico borders were open, but noted that more personnel were necessary. “We have increased the uniformed presence at all points of entry,” the spokesperson said.
Dam said air and marine assets had been put on alert. “U.S. Customs air assets have been brought in to assist other government agencies in the movement and deployment of personnel across the country. Customs is also coordinating with INS with respect to monitoring the borders.”
Customs, ATF, and IRS Criminal division had offices in the World Trade Center in New York, one of the targets of yesterday’s bombings. Dam said he could not disclose the whereabouts of missing individuals that worked for the agencies. “A full accounting will be forthcoming,” he said.
The economy would not be crippled despite yesterday’s tragedies, Dam said. “The American economy is open for business.”