SIXTH COLUMN

"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Wrong Way to Guard the Ports - New York Times

Would you believe it? This was an editorial in the NEW YORK TIMES! What IS this world coming to?

This sort of behavior - the non-border borders and now handing over our largest, busiest ports to the Muslims - raises some very serious questions in my mind. Can you guess what they might be?


The Wrong Way to Guard the Ports - New York Times

February 16, 2006
Editorial
The Wrong Way to Guard the Ports

The Bush administration has done far too little to protect the nation's ports against terrorists. But it has taken that laxness to a new level by allowing a company from the United Arab Emirates to run significant operations at six American ports, including the Port of New York.

The administration should reverse this decision.

National security experts have long warned that the ports are a key point of vulnerability. One of the worst fears about terrorism is that a nuclear device might be shipped from overseas and set off when it arrived in a port in a large city. The federal government should be doing everything it can to ensure that port security is as rigorous as possible, including keeping port management in trusted hands.

But the British company that operates the Port of New York, and other ports, has been acquired by Dubai Ports World, based in the United Arab Emirates. Although that nation is considered an ally, there have been troubling connections between it and anti-American terrorism. Many of the Sept. 11 hijackers and planners traveled through that country, and its banking system was used in preparing for the attacks.

But the Bush administration appears to have brushed these concerns aside. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a panel that includes representatives from Homeland Security, Treasury and other departments, has given its approval to the transfer of control. Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, who has long raised questions about port security, is asking the Homeland Security Department to take a closer look at the impact of the takeover.

Much remains to be done to protect the nation's ports against terrorism. Putting port management in the hands of a country with such a mixed record in the war on terror is a step in the wrong direction.

Copyright 2006The New York Times Company
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2 Comments:

  • At Fri Feb 17, 05:21:00 AM PST, Blogger Always On Watch said…

    Fox & Friends is carrying the story this morning. The coverage this morning emphasizes that UAE does some money-laundering for terrorist organizations.

    I also found this today:

    White House Defends Port Sale to Arab Co.
    Feb 16 3:48 PM US/Eastern

    By TED BRIDIS and DEVLIN BARRETT
    Associated Press Writers

    WASHINGTON


    The Bush administration on Thursday rebuffed criticism about potential security risks of a $6.8 billion sale that gives a company in the United Arab Emirates control over significant operations at six major American ports.

    Lawmakers asked the White House to reconsider its earlier approval of the deal....

    Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., urged congressional hearings on the deal....

    "At a time when America is leading the world in the war on terrorism and spending billions of dollars to secure our homeland, we cannot cede control of strategic assets to foreign nations with spotty records on terrorism," Fossella said.

    Critics also have cited the UAE's history as an operational and financial base for the hijackers who carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    "Outsourcing the operations of our largest ports to a country with a dubious record on terrorism is a homeland security and commerce accident waiting to happen," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. "The administration needs to take another look at this deal."

    Separately, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Thursday it will conduct its own review of the deal and urged the government to defend its decision.

    In a letter to the Treasury Department, Port Authority chairman Anthony Coscia said the independent review by his agency was necessary "to protect its interests."

    The lawmakers pressing the White House to reconsider included Sens. Schumer, Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Reps. Foley, Fossella and Chris Shays, R-Conn.

     
  • At Fri Feb 17, 10:53:00 AM PST, Blogger George Mason said…

    AOW:

    Many thanks for the articles and comments regarding this issue. Indeed, Fox and Friends this morning got into "port gate" big time, in ALL 3 HOURS. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee was interviewed, he says that he has put the dubious Dubai port scandal at the top of his list. The issue is gathering momentum in both the House and the Senate.

    It is odd to see so little in the right wing media. Michael Savage named the issue and explained it well. Today, to our disappointment, Tony Snow of Fox Radio sounded like a minimizer and Bush apologist about this issue. Even the NY Times is better than that.

    Clearly, we all must do what we can to correct and prevent this obvious calamity.

     

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