Coast Guard Report on Intell Gaps

Now, this is the kind of information that can make me change my mind on the Dubai Ports deal:

Citing broad gaps in U.S. intelligence, the Coast Guard cautioned the Bush administration that it was unable to determine whether a United Arab Emirates-owned company might support terrorist operations, a Senate panel said Monday.

The surprise disclosure came during a hearing on Dubai-owned DP World’s plans to take over significant operations at six leading U.S. ports. The port operations are now handled by London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company.

Oops, wait a moment:

“There are many intelligence gaps, concerning the potential for DPW or P&O assets to support terrorist operations, that precludes an overall threat assessment of the potential” merger,” an undated Coast Guard intelligence assessment says. (emphasis mine)

In other words, no matter who is running the operations, there is a potential for bad things to happen. Maybe if it was run by Americans? Oh, wait, United and American Airlines are US companies.

Face it: if there is a will, there is a way. Quite frankly, I believe that allowing the UAE to run the ops is no more dangerous then the British company. We probably more easily trust the Brits. Plus, the leaders of the UAE know that if anything happens, we know exactly who to talk to, and it won’t be some lowly dock worker.

It comes down to our borders being unsecured, whether it be the one with Mexico, the airports, or the shipping ports. We have to accept this, at least to a point, with an open and free society. We just need to be vigalant, not hysterical and paranoid.

Mark Noonan at Blogs for Bush excerpts from Citizen Smash, who lived in Dubai:

Am I concerned about Dubai Ports World taking over the franchise to operate certain ports in America? Not at all. And neither should you be. The same union employees will still be running the cranes and forklifts, and the same Coast Guard and Customs officials will still be running the port security.I’ve been there eight times. The Dubai ports are clean, safe, and efficiently run. The U.S. Navy runs its own port security operation when our ships are in port, in cooperation with the UAE military. I’ve worked port security in high-threat environments, most notably for eight months in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Port operations has very little to do with port security. They do talk to each other, but mostly about shipping schedules. Port operations are about operating cranes and forklifts. Port security is about patrolling the land and water, and inspecting cargo. The difference is not trivial.

And, as Rush stated on the radio today, this deal was announced back in October 2005. Why the hysterical freakout now from both Left and Right Congressional Critters?

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