Thursday, February 23, 2006

Common Sense

Here is what Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Pete King (R-NY) have to say about selling operations of ports to PC WOrld-a state owned company of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
In a post-9/11 world, common sense would dictate that the proposed Dubai Ports World deal would trigger intense scrutiny on the part of our government. Yet common sense clearly did not prevail...

...Our call for increased scrutiny of this deal has nothing to do with the fact that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an Arab nation. Our seaports remain the most vulnerable aspect of our homeland security. Therefore, handing over their operation to a foreign government, especially one with reported terrorist ties, deserves thorough review...

...Given all this, how can we be sure the company has security measures in place to protect against terrorist infiltration?

How can we be certain the company itself will not smuggle illicit weapons and materials into our nation?

How do we ensure that one of its employees is not working for our enemies?
and here is the white house reply
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Is Always In Charge Of The Nation’s Port Security, Not The Private Company That Operates Facilities Within The Ports. Nothing will change with this transaction. DHS, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and other Federal agencies, sets the standards for port security and ensures that all port facility owners and operators comply with these standards.

The Transaction Is Not About Port Security Or Even Port Ownership, But Only About Operations In Port. DP World will not manage port security, nor will it own any ports. DP World would take on the functions now performed by the British firm P&O – basically the off- and on-loading of cargo. Employees will still have to be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. No private company currently manages any U.S. port...

DP World Has Played By The Rules, Has Cooperated With The United States, And Is From A Country That Is A Close Ally In the War on Terror. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been a solid partner in the War on Terror. The UAE has been extremely cooperative on counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation and has provided considerable support to U.S. forces in the Gulf and to the governments and people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The UAE Is An Established Partner In Protecting America's Ports. Dubai was the first Middle Eastern entity to join the Container Security Initiative (CSI) – a multinational program to protect global trade from terrorism. Dubai was also the first Middle Eastern entity to join the Department of Energy's Megaports Initiative, a program aimed at stopping illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material.
Port Security Begins Abroad. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) created the CSI to enable CBP to inspect 100% of high-risk containers at foreign seaports before they are loaded onboard vessels destined for the United States. Dubai was the first Middle Eastern entity to join CSI. Cooperation with Dubai has been outstanding and a model for other operations.

DP World currently manages 19 container terminals and has operations in 14 countries. The United States government has a strong working relationship with DP World.


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