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Thursday, February 23, 2006
The Port Storm Continues

Jamie Allman has a suggested speech for President Bush:

Harry Whittington has refused to be shot again, so I guess I have to address this Port Deal Thingy. It's not going to go away and it's my fault. I should have said something earlier to Congress at the very least so they would have accurate information to fabricate for their own political gain instead of just fabricating information outright. Here's the deal. We're not selling our ports. We're not hiring "nasty A-rabs" to protect our ports. We're not replacing longshoremen with Middle Easterners. Dubai Ports World took over the British corporation that handled the job of essentially writing checks to longshoremen. As you know, the British aren't that great at holding on to things outside of Britain and DP won out.

Go read it all. As you can see, it's funny, but the message is serious. I especially liked his point about where the 9-11 terrorists learned to fly planes. As I said yesterday, I'm still on the fence on this issue. I'd love to hear Frank Gaffney say that his concerns have been satisified.

Power Line reproduces an email from the administration that lays out the case for the deal.

Hugh Hewitt had a terrific interview with the admiral in charge of the coast guard's port security efforts yesterday afternoon; MP3 and transcript at Radioblogger.

HH: Then the heart of my objection, Admiral, and I know it's widespread, is that even though the UAE is a great and wonderful ally in the global war on terror, and this company has a wonderful reputation, that al Qaeda is deeply entrenched in the Emirates, and that pressures can be brought to bear on reliable people through their family, through threats, etc., that make them less reliable, even though they can get into the country after vetting, that places them at the port that gives them access to information and the ability to conduct surveillance, and that we just aren't...we're just not far-flung enough to know about threats like that. How do you respond to that?

CB: Well, again, I think that you have to rely on the people that are currently authorized to come into this country, whether it's an airport or the port environment itself. This system of vetting individuals through our ports, or through our airports, and allow them coming through, is a mature one. Again, any gaps have been closed as best as possible, and other efforts may be underway. I think that you have to rely on the intelligence community as well as the public in general of any unusual activities that you detect something like that. I have to start with the premise that people are law abiding individuals. This security issue is a global one. It's not just unique to the United States. If we're going to solve this, it has to be a global effort. Moving cargos through our ports, the majority of those cargos are foreign born. We need the cooperation and the increased level of confidence internationally, not a decreased level of confidence. And there's a lot of effort that's been done internationally, both through the International Maritime Organization, as well as the World Customs Organization, and through the International Standards Organization for Security, to basically move our borders out so that our solution set, as you would say, isn't waiting for it to come here, but to have it detected somewhere else, and not allow it to ever reach our shores.
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