Monday, February 20, 2006

Port InSecurity

The father of a 9/11 terrorist attack victim wonders whether President Bush has gone insane with the plan to approve the transfer of port administration services at several major ports from a British company,Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, to the Dubai based Dubai Ports World.
Peter Gadiel just doesn't get it.

How, asks Gadiel, whose son James died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, can a company owned by a terror-linked country get control of our nation's ports?

"I'm a lifelong Republican and I think the President's gone insane," said Gadiel, 58, who heads 9/11 Families for a Secure America.

The criticisms keep rolling in. As they should. The whole approval system stinks and puts commercial interests ahead of security interests. As I earlier noted, when the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey is not contacted in relation to the approval, you have to wonder what kind of detailed security review was undertaken.

Hat Tip: Anonymous Emailer

Don Surber wonders what the fuss is all about. He links to Dennis the Peasant who has more on the subject - and thinks that Malkin and others have gone too far. He thinks that folks have gotten into a tizzy over the fact that a Middle Eastern foreign company is poised to take over administrative control over some US ports. Denis writes:
Finally, the obvious needs to be asked: Given that The Bush Administration has already subjected the security concerns to an inter-agency review that nobody from Senator Clinton to Charles Johnson has actually seen – much less review and evaluate – is the contention of “Conservatives” from Santorum to Morrissey, Malkin and Johnson that their beloved Bush Administration is indifferent to the security of the nation? Or is just that George W. Bush is incompetent? Perhaps, just perhaps, it is simply that they cannot abide the idea that when President Bush says we must distinguish between those who use Islam to justify their very un-Islamic fascism and those who honor Islam by living their lives peacefully, he really means it.
Denis assumes that all proper security reviews were done. If that's true, fine. We do want to reward those countries, governments, and groups that are assisting our efforts in the GWoT.

Perhaps Denis can reconcile that with the fact that the Port Authority Chairman went on the record as having not heard of this transfer except through the news when it broke. The fact that the Administration claims that they conducted a thorough review while never contacting the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey does bother me.

There's a few ways that the Chairman could not have heard - and that's if he was out of the loop, the Port Authority failed to inform the chairman of the info requests/reviews, or that the Administration didn't conduct a full review.

Posted to Basil's Blog.

Michelle Malkin notes the strange bedfellows that the whole port security issue has brought together. You've got Sens. Schumer and Clinton on the same side of the issue as Rep. Peter King (R), Gov. Pataki, and Gov. Erlich. Part of this is because the issue is in their collective backyards. Maryland's Gov. Erlich claims that there was no contact over the proposed deal:
Ehrlich, concerned about security at the Port of Baltimore, said Monday he is "very troubled" that Maryland officials got no advance notice before the Bush administration approved an Arab company's takeover of the operations at the six ports. "We needed to know before this was a done deal, given the state of where we are concerning security," Ehrlich told reporters in the State House rotunda in Annapolis.
More sauce for the goose.

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