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By David M. Bresnahan

June 17, 2002

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- In an effort to improve surveillance of shipping containers entering the country, a new wireless system will provide real-time access to X-ray video cameras for instant dissemination of the images to all agencies involved in homeland security issues.

Shipping containers arriving from outside the U.S. pass through Customs and security checks with very little actual inspection, prompting fears that terrorists could smuggle weapons of mass destruction through U.S. ports. The current hit movie, "The Sum of All Fears," portrays the likely possibility that terrorists smuggle a nuclear bomb into the U.S. by shipping it through a U.S. port.

The new system is about to be deployed by General Defense Systems, Inc. (GDS). Known as the GDS Lightning Access System, it is designed to improve information access for security systems at U.S. ports, including shipping container X-ray inspection systems, according to a release provided by Jerry Schranz.

The first installation will be at the Port of Miami, offering a wireless broadband connection to the facility's existing X-ray container inspection system. Images seen by the video cameras mounted on the X-ray system will be available as they happen online for users of the system.

"Our Lightning Access System is another example of the integrated technology that GDS is implementing to assist in the improvement of information dissemination and access for homeland security," states Frank Fawcett, GDS president. "This system complements the recently proposed federal government reorganization initiative to facilitate the flow of critical data, providing network access capabilities for affected government agencies."

According to Fawcett, by integrating broadband access for shipping container X-ray systems, the U.S. Government will gain the benefit of real-time remote access to X-ray imaging for increased technical support, as well as the availability of digital history files for online review and analysis of these X-ray images.

GDS, headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., is a full-spectrum integrated services firm that specializes in the conception, development and deployment of its mission-critical broadband network and wireless surveillance applications. Its customer base spans the U.S. Defense Industry, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Customs Service and other formidable companies from the public and private sectors, both national and international.

David M. Bresnahan - All Rights Reserved


David M. Bresnahan [email protected]  is an award-winning independent investigative journalist. He maintains an archive of his work at  and offers a free e-mail alert so you will not miss any of his news stories or commentaries.