Undercover investigators bought radioactive ingredients needed to make a “dirty bomb “and drove them into the U.S., says a Government Accountability Office report quoted by USA Today. Investigators put radioactive material in the trunks of cars and drove to Canadian and Mexican border checkpoints on last December. When Homeland Security radiation detectors went off, the investigators gave Customs and Border Protection agents fake government licenses and receipts. Agents searched the cars, reviewed the documents, and allowed the material into the country.
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Mn.), chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Committee on Investigations, said he was “alarmed” by the incident. “The reality is that it is easier to buy low-grade radioactive material for a dirty bomb than it is to buy cold medicine that has been restricted because of the meth epidemic,” Coleman said. “The operation demonstrated that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is stuck in a pre-9/11 mind-set in a post- 9/11 world and must modernize its procedures.” GAO criticized the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for failing to require companies that sell radioactive material to verify who is buying it, saying there is no way for border agents to verify NRC licenses or other documents.