Yesterday’s incident, which shut down the cargo area of the Port of Miami, is now being called a false alarm. Apologies will probably be issued. Various special interests will claim “profiling.”
But the fact remains that the driver raised several red flags: He had two other men hiding in the cab, who were not in plain view upon entering the port. He could not produce the proper paperwork in a routine inspection. One of those extra passengers had no identification. If “communication” was as much of a problem as authorities now say, that raises obvious questions concerning the driver’s ability to function in a setting with such sensitive security issues as a major US port.
If it was all a misunderstanding, the one facet of the story that is encouraging is that “the system” apparently did work.
“Miscommunication cited in port alert,” by Kelli Kennedy for AP:
MIAMI – Three Middle Eastern men in a cargo truck sparked a brief terrorism scare at the Port of Miami until officials determined their freight was harmless and the incident had stemmed from a simple misunderstanding.
The port’s cargo area was shut down Sunday and a bomb squad moved the truck away from public areas to scan it for radioactive materials. Nothing unusual was found, officials said.
The men in the truck “” two Iraqis and one Lebanese national “” were in local police custody, but authorities said no federal charges were expected. Officials initially said the men, all permanent U.S. residents, had been caught trying to slip past a checkpoint at the port’s entrance.
The truck’s contents “” electrical automotive parts in a 40-foot container “” matched the driver’s cargo manifest, said Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Nancy Goldberg.
A port security officer became suspicious when the truck driver could not produce proper paperwork in a routine inspection to enter the port about 8 a.m., Goldberg said.
The driver also indicated he was alone in the truck, though security officers found two other men in the cab, she said. The two passengers, ages 28 and 29, were a friend and a relative of the 20-year-old Iraqi driver, she said.
“Due to a miscommunication between the gate security personnel and the truck driver, we believe there was a discrepancy in the number of people in the vehicle,” Goldberg said. “This, and the fact that one of the individuals did not have any form of ID, raised
our level of concern.”
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were called to the scene, along with federal and local law enforcers, “in an abundance of caution,” Goldberg said.