Security at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach may come under closer scrutiny following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
According to the Los Angeles Times,
U.S. Rep. Jane Harman of Redondo Beach, Calif., has requested federal assistance in conducting a security assessment at the adjacent ports.
While Harman focused on inspections of cargo ships and oil tankers and background checks on their crews, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn is worried about the thousands of trucks that haul nearly 5 million containers a year from the harbor to train yards and retail outlets.
"There are no comprehensive security measures in place with regard to checking the contents of those containers, or the identification of the drivers," who are primarily independent contractors, she said during a public forum convened by Rep. Harman. "It's a big hole on the system and it's right here on the docks."
Bruce Seton, chief operating officer at the port, told the paper that the port facilities are "safe as can be." He urged reason in any improvements, rather than knee-jerk reactions.
The Coast Card has had increased presence in the port since Sept. 11, with 24-hour patrols of the waterfront, according to the newspaper. Multi-agency teams, including immigration officers and sometimes FBI agents, are boarding ships and conducting background checks on their crews, the paper reports.