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April 25, 2006 

Port Workers to Undergo Background Checks

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff held a press conference today to announce that DHS will begin conducting name-based background checks on nearly 400,000 persons that work at U.S. ports. The employees will undergo background checks for links to terrorism and to ensure they are legal U.S. residents.

In response to a question raised during the press conference about a possible amendment to legislation that would require hundred percent physical screening of all incoming cargo into the U.S., Secretary Chertoff said that calling for "physical inspection of every container is like saying we ought to strip search everybody who gets on an airplane. I mean, in theory, that would make us very safe, but I think it would destroy the airline industry. So we're not going to strip search people, everybody getting on an airplane, and I don't think it's wise to physically inspect every container. I do think it's wise to use the kind of technology I saw in Hong Kong, and the kind of technology we are using in ports in this country screening hundred percent, check hundred percent for radiation, and make sure we are looking at any container which is a high-risk."



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