WASHINGTON — International trade attorney John Pelligrini heard the rumor from a client: U.S. ports will be closed out of heightened security if there’s a war with Iraq.
“This company is pretty sophisticated,” Pelligrini said of the client.
However, the U.S. Customs Service said this tip is just a rumor circulating on the Internet as an agency memo that looks real. The fake memo says ports would be closed for two to five days.
“Bogus, bogus, bogus,” a Customs spokesman said, while not ruling out U.S. ports ever being closed if a threat does arise. “This rumor is going around among corporate executives.”
It comes as Customs officials are busy deploying various cargo-security initiatives designed to keep terrorist activity away from U.S. shores. About half of the $1.2 trillion in goods imported into the U.S. annually arrives by ocean carrier.