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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Schmecurity

Apparently the Bushies have cribbed their port security plan from their Social Security plan.

A United Arab Emirates government-owned company is poised to take over port terminal operations in 21 American ports, far more than the six widely reported.

The Bush administration has approved the takeover of British-owned Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. to DP World, a deal set to go forward March 2 unless Congress intervenes.

P&O is the parent company of P&O Ports North America, which leases terminals for the import and export and loading and unloading and security of cargo in 21 ports, 11 on the East Coast, ranging from Portland, Maine to Miami, Florida, and 10 on the Gulf Coast, from Gulfport, Miss., to Corpus Christi, Texas, according to the company's Web site.


How the holy hell did six become 21 is what I'd like to know. "Oh, by the way, those six you've been talking about all week long? Here's another fifteen we forgot about. Our bad."

And hey, I wonder just how the good folks in Gulfport and Corpus Christi feel about their boy now? Can't say you weren't warned.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R- Va., said he will request from both the U.S. attorney general and the Senate committee's legal counsel a finding on the administration's interpretation of the 1992 amendment.

Adding to the controversy is the fact Congress was not notified of the deal. Kimmitt said Congress is periodically updated on completed CFIUS decisions, but is proscribed from initiating contact with Congress about pending deals. It may respond to congressional inquiries on those cases only.

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley stated in a letter to Bush on Feb. 21 that he specifically requested to be kept abreast of foreign investments that may have national security implications. He made the request in the wake of a controversial Chinese proposal to purchase an oil company last year.

"Obviously, my request fell on deaf ears. I am disappointed that I was neither briefed nor informed of this sale prior to its approval. Instead, I read about it in the media," he wrote.


Awww. Poor Chuck Grassley is feeling a bit unloved. Maybe he should take it up with Bill Frist, who just pulled a serious 180ยบ on the ports issue from his earlier principled critiques.

This is the part in the ventriloquist act when the dummy pretends he's not really a dummy. Good luck with that one, girls. Make sure to explain it to your constituents; I'm sure they'll appreciate the heads-up.

Central to the debate is the fact that the United Arab Emirates, while a key ally of the United States in the Middle East, has had troubling ties to terrorist networks, according to the Sept. 11 Commission report. It was one of the few countries in the world that recognized the al-Qaida-friendly Taliban government in Afghanistan; al-Qaida funneled millions of dollars through the U.A.E. financial sector; and A.Q. Khan, the notorious Pakistani nuclear technology smuggler, used warehouses near the Dubai port as a key transit point for many of his shipments.

Since the terrorist attacks, it has cut ties with the Taliban, frozen just over $1 million in alleged terrorist funding, and given the United States key military basing and over-flight rights. At any given time, there are 77,000 U.S. service members on leave in the United Arab Emirates, according to the Pentagon.


Well, shit, then I suggest we endorse Bill Maher's idea and outsource Secret Service protection to them while we're at it. Not such a hot idea now, Harvard?

[via Americablog]

3 comments:

Mitch said...

"[The UAE] was one of the few countries in the world that recognized the al-Qaida-friendly Taliban government in Afghanistan"

Who were the other countries in that list of the few that recognized the Taliban? The US, right? Water under the bridge.

My understanding is that the DPW takeover is simply nominal. In any case, it's par for the course. The public would freak into catatonia if they knew how much of this country was already foreign government-owned. The leveraging has been going on for decades.

It's the hypocrisy that bothers me the most. I think this ranks very high on the list of brazen acts of sleight of hand that the administration has tried to pull off in the last five years. After all this whining and crying about the dangers of nuance in a "time of terror," ... to do this ... I find stunning. Interestingly enough, I'm still surprised that this story has gotten as much play as it has. If Capitol Hill and CNN hadn't forced the issue, Jay Leno would never have used it as a running gag. What this story really proves to me (again) is that only the media and the politicians are capable of deciding what is "major news."

Serious question. Maybe you know something I don't. I haven't read up a whole lot on this. Is this primarily a business transaction between the British company and Dubai? Is US government approval merely an afterthought? If so, is that why no one in government had a damn clue about this until last week? Or are they lying? If this is really going through, and it looks like it will, it must be our obligation in a massive PTBNL deal. But if that's the case, and there was a "deal" in place, then the ignorance excuse doesn't really work. Pathetic.

Mitch said...

Nevermind. I see you covered this ground in "The System Has Failed." I forgot you were embargoing the volume of your work for the Sunday edition.

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