Something Stinks in the X-ray Department

There's something fishy at the Port of Los Angeles. Other than being the nation's largest port, it is using X-ray equipment manufactured in China. Something doesn't smell right about this purchase.

Port authorities paid $1.88 million for a sophisticated, high-energy X-ray scanning system, but the rub is that the equipment was bought with a grant awarded by the Department of Homeland Security. As if it couldn't get any stickier, the head of the Chinese company, Nuctech Co. Ltd., is son of the president of the People's Republic of China.

I fear this is not something new. There is something fundamentally wrong with using DHS money to buy equipment manufactured outside the United States. Nuctech is headquartered in Beijing, but has a small U.S.-based business headquartered in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., known as DULY Research Inc.

The company will provide equipment used by port police to inspect trucks delivering food, groceries and other supplies to cruise ships scheduled to depart from the busy West Coast port. Rival bidders included Smiths Detection, a British company with offices in New Jersey, and Rapiscan Systems of Torrance, Calif.

It seems only right that use of DHS grant money should be used on American-based companies. To be fair, however, the Smiths Detection bid was more than $2.7 million and Rapiscan's bid was about $2.9 million.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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