Monday, February 20, 2006

UAE Protecting Our Ports?

On February 11, a story broke regarding the White House okaying the United Arab Emirates state owned Dubai Ports World's $6.8 billion take over of British Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.. British P&O provides security for six major ports in the Untied States. Those ports are New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

Yahoo! News
February 11, 2006
UAE Co. Poised to Oversee Six U.S. Ports

A company in the United Arab Emirates is poised to take over significant operations at six American ports as part of a corporate sale, leaving a country with ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers with influence over a maritime industry considered vulnerable to terrorism.

The Bush administration considers the UAE an important ally in the fight against terrorism since the suicide hijackings and is not objecting to Dubai Ports World's purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

Considering that two years ago to the Month, George W. Bush was speaking about how the US needs to increase the security at its major ports.

White House

February 4, 2004

President Bush Focuses on Seaport and Cargo Security in South Carolina

I appreciate my friend, Tom Ridge, for becoming the first Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He's got a big job, and he's doing it well.

....

Part of doing our duty in the war on terror is to protect the homeland. That's part of our solemn responsibility. And we are taking unprecedented steps to protect the homeland. In the 2005 budget, as the Secretary mentioned, we proposed increases in homeland security spending. And some of those increases are measures to protect our seaports. And that's why I've come to this vital seaport, to remind people -- to remind the American people, as they pay attention to the debates in the halls of Congress, that we have a solemn duty to protect our homeland, including the seaports of America.

Was Bush only talking about increasing security at the Port of Charleston and not New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia? He did say seaports with an "s" at the end.

The Bush administration defended the P& O sale to the UAE stating that they are an important ally in the fight against terror.

Washington Post

February 17, 2006

White House Defends Port Sale to Arab Co.

The most important information from this article is in these two paragraphs:

The Homeland Security Department said it was legally impossible under the committee's rules to reconsider its approval without evidence that DP World gave false information or withheld vital details from U.S. officials. The 30-day window for the committee to voice objections has ended, the department said.

....

The Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States received an assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies. The committee's 12 members agreed unanimously the sale did not present any problems, the department said.

While the White House and the UAE consider each other to be allies in the Global War on Terror, according to the 9/11 Commission's report, the UAE played an important role in 9/11, but as a enabler. The 9/11 Commisssion also recommended stregthening our ports.

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

July 22, 2004

The 9/11 Commission Report

This backlash from this sale sent both the Democrats and the Republicans into action. On February 16, the bi-partisan group sent a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury John D. Snow.

The letter was signed by the follwing Congressmen:

Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT)

Senator Tom A. Coburn M.D. (R-OK)

Representative Christopher Shays (R-CT)

Representative Mark Foley (R-FL)

Representative Vito Fossella (R-NY)

Other Congressional members that have spoken out against this sale:

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)

Governor George Pataki (R-NY)

Governor Robert Ehrlich (R-MD)

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist M.D. (R-TN)

House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-NY)

Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton (D-NY)

Mayor Martin O'Malley (D-Baltimore, MD)

Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC)

Sunday on CNN's Late Edition, when asked about the port security issue Michael Chertoff claimed that the sale was classified. Think Progress has more on this topic.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff

CNN Late Edition

February 19, 2006

The discussions are classified. I can’t get into the specifics
here
…As far as my agency is concerned, port security really rests
principally with the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection.

But, even Chertoff's predecessor as Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridgw has a problem with the UAE taking over security for these ports.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge

CNN
February 20, 2006

Ridge: White House should explain port deal

The Bush administration needs to show Congress why national security won't be hurt by a deal that gives a company based in the United Arab Emirates management of six major U.S. ports, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Monday.

Ridge, appearing on CNN's "American Morning," said, "I think the anxiety and the concern [over the deal] that has been expressed by congressmen and senators and elsewhere is legitimate."

And then we find out that this is nothing more than a little bit of cronyism. It would appear that George W. Bush just gave an appointment to one of DP Worlds senior executives, less than a month ago.

DP World Website

Januray 24, 2006

Dp World Executive Nominated For Presitigous Us Govt Position

Global ports operator DP World today welcomed news that one of its senior executives, Dave Sanborn, has been nominated by US President George W. Bush to serve as Maritime Administrator a key transportation appointment reporting directly to Norman Mineta the Secretary of Transportation and Cabinet Member.

Bush and his cronies really screwed the pooch on this one. You can't scream one day about terrorist this and terror that, all the while blaming Arab countries for these terrorists, plus combine that with the fact that two of the ninteen 9/11 highjackers were from Dubai UAE and then expect people to want them to run the security for our ports.

The UAE didn't discover the terrorist plot inside their own country to blow up the WTC, so how are we supposed to beleive they would stop the next one.

Looking into the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 currently.

The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation

June 9, 2004

Hearing on Implementation of the Maritime Transportation Security Act

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