Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cue the dancing bears

Sorry-ass W shills: John McCain (I almost voted for you. Phew!) and Joe Lieberman are trotted out to show support for the irresponsible turnover of American port security to a company owned by and located in the United Arab Emirates. I expected as much from Joe; but I'm constantly surprised by McCain's ever more obsequious kow-towwing to George Bush. Bush sat back and let Karl Rove smear McCain's reputation and question his sanity back in the 2000 presidential primaries; why does McCain constantly fall into the party line? I thought maybe his stand against torture was a glimmer of hope, perhaps a chance he would reclaim visitation rights to his balls again, but alas no. Even Corky is up in arms about it. Not everybody in the liberal/left/America-hating side of the aisle is up in arms about it; Glenn Greenwald, for example, is still on the fence. But the issue is clear to me, and to many others: port security has been the poor stepchild of homeland security for years, well before 9/11. It's one of the most vulnerable points of entry into the United States, and an insignificant (at best) amount of money has been earmarked to decrease that vulnerability. So: after leaving this weakness exposed and unfortified for five years, control is suddenly handed over to a country -- not just a foreign company, but a *state-owned* foreign company -- with a track record of financing and supporting terrorism. I'd be as outraged if port control was handed over to North Korea or Pakistan. And I'm not happy to learn that some port functions have been farmed out to China, either.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

P&O is not (and never have been) in charge of port security - they manage container and cargo processing.

Security is part of the responsibility of the Coast Guard (part of the Defense Department) and U.S. Customs (part of Homeland Security). Neither of these organizations are foreign owned.

2/22/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

As it is, an official admitted that only about 7 percent of cargo is ever inspected. Is that only going to get lower now?

2/22/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Suspect Device said...

"P&O is not (and never have been) in charge of port security - they manage container and cargo processing.

Security is part of the responsibility of the Coast Guard (part of the Defense Department) and U.S. Customs (part of Homeland Security). Neither of these organizations are foreign owned."


Take your condescending talking points and hang them in your ass. P&O would control physical access to the ports and the customs staging area, and would oversee shipping compliance with all security measures. Customs writes the guidelines, but it's P&O which would largely carry them out. And any agency managing operations at a port would have to be privvy to internal security measures, such as plans for securing the port in the event of a disaster or attack and analyses of capabilities to be called upon in an emergency. They would not be acting as customs agents and they would not be taking over the duties of the coast guard, true. The ports would not suddenly be crawling with Dubai nationals. But that's not the point; the point is that an unstable nation with demonstrated close ties to terrorists and terrorist organizations would have access to sensitive plans and information about an already vulnerable line of defense. You want to take the chance?

2/22/2006 03:57:00 PM  

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