Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hot Money Smuggling On The Rise

The Boston Herald reports on an unprecedented increase in currency smuggling, an activity usually linked to drug trafficking and terrorism financing.
The number of people caught trying to sneak cash in and out of the country is skyrocketing nationally and in New England, customs data show, with “hot money” being detected in diaper boxes, money belts, underwear, baby clothes, bras and candy boxes.
Nationally, seizure totals have soared by 50 percent, from about $50 million to $75 million, between 2005 and 2008, according to figures provided to the Sunday Herald by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Seizure amounts are up 66 percent in New England during the same four years, from $1.5 million to $2.5 million.
According to customs data, at least $2.1 million has been seized in New England during the current fiscal year, and the region is on a pace to hit $3 million for 2009.
The Herald also posts an AP story about the potential danger to homeland security from an electromagnetic pulse attack:
A New York businessman is sounding the alarm on a potential terror threat that he says has not gotten the attention or action it deserves, despite a congressional committee’s finding that the country grows more vulnerable to it by the day.
Henry Schwartz, chairman of Steuben Foods and Elmhurst Dairy, is so concerned that an enemy’s electromagnetic pulse attack could paralyze America that he will gather a group of scientists, congressmen and others for a conference next month on how the country should protect itself...
An electromagentic pulse, or EMP, is a split-second burst of energy that occurs when a nuclear device is detonated high in the atmosphere. A Department of Homeland Security disaster guide for the public explains an EMP "acts like a stroke of lightning but is stronger, faster and shorter."

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