Los Angeles City Beat
July 31, 2008
With one exception, Tad Daley’s cover story [“Going Ballistic,” July 17] on how best to guard L.A. against a nuclear attack was comprehensive and excellent. Other than the words “border security” attributed by Mr. Daley to Michael Levi’s 2007 book On Nuclear Terrorism, the CityBeat story conveys no sense of the importance of guarding our borders against illegal immigration. A nuclear “terrorist” need not import materials for an A-bomb in a container passing through a U.S. port of entry. For example, on multiple occasions since September 11, 2001, I have been a passenger on a small pleasure boat on the Saint Lawrence River between New York State and Canada. Each time, I was struck by how trivially easy it would have been for me to bring nuclear or other dangerous materials into the U.S.A., should I have been so inclined. As long as our borders remain effectively wide open to the passage of illegal immigrants, they are also wide open to importation of nuclear bomb materials. In an opinion piece published in various newspapers not long after September 11, 2001, UCLA elementary particle physicist David Cline and I argued that prevention of illegal immigration should be an important component of any comprehensive strategy to protect U.S. cities from a nuclear holocaust. Unfortunately, other than occasional posturing for the media, neither our current President nor the presumptive presidential nominees of the two major parties has shown any interest in support of effective measures that would greatly reduce illegal immigration.
–Ben Zuckerman (CAPS Board Member)
UCLA Professor of Physics & Astronomy