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By Jan Markell
For several years the British have been in charge of six U.S. ports and that is bad enough. But now the torch for our ports in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Miami, Baltimore, and New Orleans is being passed on to al-Qaida-friendly United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is reckless oversight at best and America can no longer afford to have the disposition of strategic assets--including those of military or homeland security dimension--determined in this case by a Treasury Department panel whose deliberations and decisions are made in secret without congressional oversight. Since this is of mortal danger to America, President Bush needs to overrule this and/or Congress must take action. Sadly, it appears the president gives it his support as does Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff.
America has several areas of vulnerability and our ports are one of them. About 99% of shipping containers enter America without any inspection of any kind. Somebody with a case of alcohol in their car is more likely to be inspected than some ships that could have WMD on board.
No one in the administration has sufficiently answered the burning question of why it is ok with handing port security over to a hotbed of Islamic radicalism--the United Arab Emirates, who are pro-Taliben, pro-al-Qaida, and anti-Israel. Al-Qaida recruits from the United Arab Emirates, travels freely, and wires money through them. The very credible Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of The American Center for Democracy and who has been a guest on my radio program, said the UAE is "a big hub for all kinds of terrorist activities....we know money is being laundered there."
The Bush administration calls the UAE an ally in the war on terror. But the bottom line is that they are no different than Saudi Arabia. They both speak and act in a dual manner: They try to quench terrorists at home and turn a blind eye--and worse, aid the world of terror--at every opportunity.
The deal appears to be all about money. Dubai Ports World is a business and its money is the same color as everyone else's only it has more of it a banker told The Baltimore Sun.
While this is a Treasury Department move, President Bush should overrule the committee and reject this deal. If not, Congress must act. America's sensitive ports should not be owned by foreign governments, much less governments who are favored by terrorists. Are we next going to hand over our airport security to our enemies?
Between our open borders and now inadequate port security, it would seem all we are doing in the war on terror is cancelled out but such "stretching credulity" decisions as to hand over six major ports to the UAE. Thankfully, God remains our Homeland Security Director.
Media coverage other than the Internet has been abysmal. Thus neither Congress nor the American public have been kept very aware of this potential disaster. And with the propensity of "leaks" today, how did this happen without being leaked? Probably because the media have been obsessing over quail hunting.
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