Rep. Nadler Demands More Funding For Port Security

Jun 11, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) assailed Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and the Bush Administration for not doing nearly enough to protect American ports from terrorist attacks. Although the Secretary announced that the Administration will spend all of the $58 million designated for port security (Operation Safe Commerce) instead of diverting $28 million for other purposes as it had announced earlier this week, Rep. Nadler insisted that this Administration is not taking the threat to American ports seriously.

"This Administration does not seem to understand the severity of the threat we face," said Rep. Nadler. "Fifty-eight million dollars is not nearly enought to protect us from a nuclear or biological catastrophe that could kill millions of people and cause trillions dollars in damages to the ecomony."

"The Bush administration is threatening our national security by not adequately funding port security," said Rep. Nadler. "Every national security expert in the country knows that our ports are vulnerable to nuclear, biological and chemical attack. Yet we inspect only 2 percent of the 6 million containers entering our country every year. We need to spend three billion dollars to inspect 100 percent of the containers -- any one of which could bring an atomic bomb into this country," said Rep. Nadler.

In response to the announcement that the U.S. will send American inspectors overseas to designated ports, Rep. Nadler asked, "Why only send inspectors to certain foreign ports? That just tells the terrorists which ports to avoid. We will not be secure until we inspect every container, bound for the United States, in every foreign port."

While Secretary Ridge was in New York today to announce the release of funding approved by Congress to increase port security, Rep. Nadler argued that much more money is needed to protect New York and the rest of the country.

"While I am pleased that Sec. Ridge is finally releasing the funding Congress set aside for New York’s ports over a year ago, the Bush Administration needs to dramatically increase funding if it wants to truly protect New Yorkers from nuclear, biological, and chemical attack. That will cost money, and if the Bush administration keeps cutting taxes, we won’t have the money we need to protect the American people," said Rep. Nadler.

Rep. Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.