1/27/04, Acting Assistant Director Gary Bald, Counterterrorism
Division, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee's
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security
on the topic of seaport security and the FBI's partnership
to protect the nation's 361 ports with the Department of Homeland
Security, with its U.S. Coast Guard service, and with local
port authorities. He joined Rear Admiral Larry Hereth and
Robert Jacksta of the Department of Homeland Security.
testimony, Mr. Bald addressed the difficulties of protecting
busy, vital ports, noting the complexity of their commercial
and recreational activities that create unintended vulnerabilities.
"The United States' economy depends on the free flow
of goods through these waterways, but with the free flow of
goods comes the inherent risk of terrorist attacks. Ports,
because of their accessibility to both water and land, together
with the chemical and natural resource storage facilities
that are often located within close proximity, are inherently
to protect against these vulnerabilities? With a
multijurisdictional approach by federal government agencies
and local port authorities.
does the FBI contribute? In a variety of ways. Here
are just a few:
a national level, through the FBI's National Joint Terrorism
Task Force and local field office Joint Terrorism Task Forces
that join the efforts of federal, state, and local agencies
in the immediate exchange of critical security information,
local levels, where FBI field offices have seaports in their
territories, by participating in Area Maritime Security
Committees and providing threat analysis and intelligence
reports to their members on matters that affect safe operation
of specific port facilities.
participating in the U.S. Coast Guard's "Operation
Drydock," which is identifying any terrorist or illegal
connections of over 200,000 U.S. merchant mariners.
working with members of the cruise industry to streamline
the process of vetting cruise line manifests of passengers
and crew before cruise ships depart ports.
concludes: "The institution of new security regulations
and the cooperative approach to port security between the
U.S. Coast Guard (Department of Homeland Security) and the
Joint Terrorism Task Forces have greatly enhanced maritime
security in the United States. ...We remain committed to identifying
and disrupting terrorist activities particularly within the
United States port system.
Read the full transcript of Mr. Bald's "Covering
the Waterfront -- A Review of Seaport Security Since September