Friday, September 10, 2010

Vancouver Port Eyed as Possible Entry Point for Nuke During Winter Olympics

Six months after the close of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, it is now being learned that the Canadian government increased radiation monitoring at the Port of Vancouver over fears that terrorists might try to sneak in a nuclear device to detonate during the Games.

The internal documents, obtained by The Vancouver Sun, also reveal that Canadian government quietly imposed a state of "heightened vigilance" at the country's airports just prior to the start of the Games on Feb. 12, mainly in response to a failed airline bombing in the United States on Christmas Day, 2009.

According to The Sun, a high-level government memo was disseminated which said, in part, "Questions have ... been raised regarding the possibility that a terrorist group could exploit the movement of ... containers through the port of Vancouver during the Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The memo listed steps that were taken to minimize the chance of a nuclear device slipping in through the port, including: Increase in-depth risk assessments of all containers prior to their shipment in to Canada; the installation of container-scanning radiation detection portals at the port; the application of vehicle-mounted radiation detectors throughout the port; and, the distribution of hand-held radiation detectors.

The Sun points out that many of the radiation detection devices were in place long before the start of the Games.

However, a separate document obtained by The Sun summarizing the Canadian Border Services Agency's efforts to secure the port during the Games included increasing chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive detection capabilities at all Canadian points of entry.

"The Enforcement Branch has developed a plan that will support port of entry enforcement activities by providing increased training, maintenance and support for a variety of contraband and CBRNE detection tools during the Games," it states, according to The Sun. The document also noted that the various detection tools could by redeployed where needed "should threat levels increase."

In response to a inquiry from The Sun, CBSA spokeswoman Shakila Manzoor said the agency had "no information of a threat or actual attempt to smuggle bomb/radiological material leading up to or during the 2010 Games." She told the newspaper that the increased detection equipment was in response to "worst case scenarios."