Arab Company Takes Over Major U.S. Ports?
British firm Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P & O) - which runs the major commercial operations in the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia - was bought last week by DP World of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Okay, so one foreign company buys another, right? Isn't the UAE an ally of ours? Doesn't sound so alarming on the surface - until one discovers that the acquiring company is STATE-OWNED by the UAE, which (ally or not) served as an operational and financial base for the 9-11 terrorists and was along the route of smuggled nuclear components shipped to Iran, North Korea and Libya by a Pakistani scientist.
Like I said, "WTF?"
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the administration had approved the sale after a classified review, saying the agreement would include safeguards to protect national security. "You can be assured that before a deal is approved we put safeguards in place, assurances in place, that make everybody comfortable that we are where we need to be from a national security viewpoint."Apparently, that explanation doesn't cut it with lawmakers. The response from Democrats is predictable and therefore hardly news, but Republicans are starting to make themselves heard on this issue as well - and for good reason.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, voiced his concerns for approving an Arab company's takeover of operations at these six major American ports on Sunday, calling the terms "insufficient to guard against terrorist infiltration." He stated further, "I'm aware of the conditions and they relate entirely to how the company carries out its procedures, but it doesn't go to who they hire, or how they hire people...They are better than nothing, but to me they don't address the underlying conditions, which is how are they going to guard against things like infiltration by al-Qaida or someone else, how are they going to guard against corruption?"
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a usually staunch supporter of the President, told Fox News Sunday that it was a mistake for them to approve the sale and called on Congress to investigate it. "It's unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history, four years after 9-11, to entertain the idea of turning port security over to a company based in the UAE who avows to destroy Israel...I don't think now is the time to outsource major port security to a foreign-based company."Like the Terrorist Surveillance Program, there is probably a great deal the Public, and the whole of Congress, simply cannot know. But unlike the secret wiretapping, this will be very hard to sell to Post-9-11 Americans.
Chertoff stated on CNN's Late Edition, "Congress is welcome to look at this and can get classified briefings. We have to balance the paramount urgency of security against the fact that we still want to have a robust global trading system."I don't know, Michael - given the UAE's dubious recent history, the outrageously lax border security plaguing this nation, and the fact that only 2% of shipping containers are inspected at these ports, this time you're going to have to do a LOT better than that. If we need to engage the Arabs in trade, why not stick to buying safe stuff like hookah pipes, outrageously priced spices and, er, I don't know... rubber dog-shit? ANYTHING but this!!!