The biggest weakness in the system, some officials at the two-day conference warned, is a lack of "aggressive" intelligence gathering to head off terrorism before it reaches U.S. ports.
"We have the operational capabilities to defeat any of these threats _ WMD, conventional mines _ if we see the threat approaching," said Paul McHale, Assistant Defense Secretary for Homeland Defense.
Though the approach of a dirty bomb can be detected with static sensors, McHale said, "the most important thing we can do is to dramatically improve our overseas intelligence collection, with a specific orientation toward the maritime threat."
"If we count on a close-in defense, we may catch some of the terrorist threats and defeat them, but there will be leakers," he said.
Thursday, June 08, 2006