We Don' Need No Steenking Radiation Detectorss!


A couple weeks ago I called Gregory D. Kutz, managing director of forensic audits and special investigations at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, for comment about a short piece I was doing on the GAO's test of border security for radioactive materials. GAO agents supposedly managed to bring in enough material for two "dirty bombs" from both Canada and Mexico using fake documents. I had forgotten about the call, but Kutz got back to me today, and I asked him a couple questions, including how the GAO coordinates such a test with authorities in Canada and Mexico. Our exchange:

GAO: I can't provide any details about that, so I'll just say we do coordinate with Canadian authorities.

Reason: But not Mexican authorities?

GAO: As I said, I'm not going to get into any details.

Reason: Well it sounds strange that you'll only confirm you coordinate with one of the two countries.

GAO: Again, none of that information was in the public version of our report, so I'm not going to comment.

Reason: Wouldn't Mexican officials be upset about this, that you're smuggling radioactive materials across the border without their knowledge?

GAO: I'll let you interpret that however you want, but I'll just say we do not have to coordinate with Mexican authorities.

Anybody have anything that could shed light on this strange situation?

NEXT: That's My Bush, Isn't It?

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  1. Anybody have anything that could shed light on this strange situation?

    What does NAFTA say? Does it say anything about requiring nukular (if the POTUS can say it that way, I can spell it that way) material needing government permission to cross the border, or be subject to an import tariff?

    Maybe they could import parts of it into Mexico for reassembly there for re-export back into the US?

    Perhaps it is something similar to the NSA thing were Bush felt he had the right to eavesdrop on us. What’s good for screwing the geese (Americans)is good for screwing the gander (Mexicans).

  2. If you are a private citizen, never talk to the police.

    If you are a government bureaucrat, never talk to a reporter.

  3. Happy:

    As a long time CSPAN nerd, I think it hardly fair to lay the whole ?Nukuler? thing on Bush. Damn near half of Congress pronounces it the same way. Also Form. Pres Carter was fond of the ?Nukula? verbiage when not concerned with killer bunnies, or sweaters in the White House.

    As for the Mexican Connection here.. Perhaps it is the long noticed facilitation of the Mexican Military, and hence the at LEAST tacit cooperation of the Mexican government in drug smuggling north that accounts for the inability of the U.S to coordinate boarder security concerns with Mexico City.

    AS to the NSA comment.. Only a sub par troll attempt. Try again.

  4. It’s interesting. NRC apparently disagrees with the amount that GAO considered “enough to produce an RDD (dirty bomb).” I’m very curious as to how much, and which material GAO used for their test.

    There’s no telling whether they just bought a bunch of little license-exempt check sources, or whether they bought some serious licensed sources like one would use for metallurgical inspections. I have no idea what they mean about the material chosen by industry for its “strong radioactivity”.

    They also didn’t mention the fact that the “materials of greatest concern” are some of the hardest to look for without neutron detectors.

    At least they have the border guys wearing chirpers. That’s probably a good idea no matter what, but if and only if they give them training on what to do when they go off.

  5. If you are a private citizen, never talk to the police.

    If you are a government bureaucrat, never talk to a reporter.

    Based on most people’s experience with the press, I think you could safely add:

    If you are a private citizen, never talk to a reporter.

  6. It might have something to do with one of the many treaties we have with Mexico.


    But that’s just a guess.

  7. Funny how even the “Government Accountability Office” ducks accountability…

  8. It might have something to do with one of the many treaties we have with Mexico.

    my guess would be the exact opposite…canada unlike mexico is a NATO member and a stratigic ally…and as such has an agreement governing the transport of radioactive materials.

    Mexico has no such agreement there for no law or tready. What is not explicitly illegal is implicitly legal.

  9. I suspect that Lone Wacko has some thoughts on the matter…

  10. joshua,

    I’m guessing you’re right. If there was a governing treaty, he probably would’ve mentioned it.

    Then again, he may not have wanted to mention the treaty, in case the Mexican gov’t decided that it didn’t like what the U.S. was doing.

    Like I said, I’m just guessing.

  11. Yeah, joe, but he’s not going to post it here because there’s something in the Hit ‘n’ Run blog code that keeps his counter from registering hits to his blog or something.

    Probably the darned Reptoids…

  12. It isn’t necessary to “coordinate” with Mexican officials. You just hand over the bribe and keep going.

  13. Larry A: bribing … uh, I mean “tipping” Federales is coordinating with them, just not in an official way 😉

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