Monday, October 01, 2007

SPP : Nukes and kitty litter

G&M : "Terrorists could easily carry nuclear materials for a dirty bomb from Canada into the United States, the U.S. Congress was told yesterday, sparking demands for much greater border security.
"With the exception of the U.S., there are more international terrorist organizations active in Canada than anywhere else in the world," Senator Ken Salazar, a Colorado Democrat, said."

Leaving aside for a moment his admission that there are more international terrorist orgs in the US than there are in Canada, what we want to know is what is being done about terrorists smuggling kitty litter from Canada into the US.

The Department of Homeland Security is on the case.
Since, you know, that date, the DHS has deployed a $200 million national network of detectors known as radiation portal monitors to protect US ports and borders against nuclear weapons and dirty bombs.
The trouble with these devices is that they often cannot distinguish between a nuclear device and cat litter.

[Ed. note : If only somone had asked me, I would have personally been willing to fail to determine the difference between kitty litter and a nuclear bomb for merely half that much.]

Evidently stung by US Government Accountability Office criticism of their kitty litter detecting device boondoggle, DHS officials commissioned a whole new batch of detectors, called Advanced Spectroscopic Portals, at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion. The DHS then helped the contractor pass the dry run tests by "allowing contractors to "collect test data" about the kinds of radioactive materials they would be screening and then to "adjust their systems accordingly" for the actual tests in February and March."
The GAO is unimpressed and there will be further tests.

But back to the G&M and the official Canadian government reaction to the news that there are more international terrorist orgs in the US than there are here in Canada and that this is somehow our fault and we should do something about it, goddamnit :

"Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said Canada has an aggressive anti-terrorism program... adding that Canada is safer than it was 1½ years ago.[Ed.: *snigger*]
Mr. Day said Canada has put $431-million toward improving infrastructure at border points and $19.5-million to expanding integrated border teams."

Actually we've done better than that - the Canadian company Bubble Technology Industries (BTI) has partnered with Raytheon to make the new and improved but interestingly tested kitty litter detectors.

And why should we care whether the DHS is acting as a mere extension of the defence industry while operating as a US government department at the same time?
Because the DHS is coordinating the security working groups of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, that's why.


Q said...

Let's be fair. Is that fresh or used kitty litter? The used can be pretty powerful stuff and could mess up any detector. They can borrow Q's cats for a few hundred thousand $$$ and torture test those gadgets.

Intersting how everything tied to defense contracts has to start at 'hundreds of millions' or it's just not serious work.

Alison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alison said...

Fresh. Also banana skins, ceramics, and, on page 48 of the DHS report on ASPs : road salt.
Here it is on Bubble Tech's own website, where , you will note, they mention the US market to be upwards of one billion US dollars in the very first paragraph. They also say it works, whereas the DHS report mentions, um, kitty litter difficulties.

RossK said...


Whatever will come next - US DoJ = Canadian Dept. of Health?

Oh, hang on a second, what was that Tony Clement had to say about drugs and parties last week?


Anonymous said...

you mean the guy with the banana in his pocket is no longer safe?

Alison said...

Scout, he's probably safer than the guy with the kitty litter in his pocket. *bah-boom-chk*

Ross, please, I'm blogging as fast as I can! Lots of research still needed on that one. Tony still have his compromising shares in trust, do you know? I'm not getting anywhere on that.

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