MARCH 13, 2006
Security was the big bipartisan outrage surrounding the idea of an Arab company (Dubai Ports World) controlling American ports so it’s ironic that there has been no mention of a costly three-year study revealing that security is already so weak that terrorists could easily smuggle weapons of mass destruction into the United States.
Conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, the study (Operation Safe Commerce) cost $75 million and found serious lapses by private companies at foreign and American ports, aboard ships and on trucks and trains that would enable weapons of mass destruction to be introduced into the supply chain.
It also found that cargo containers can be opened secretly during shipment to add or remove items without alerting U.S. authorities, that practices in various countries such as Turkey’s Port Izmir were totally inadequate by U.S. standards and that some governments will not help tighten security because they view terrorism as an American problem.
Although these problems have existed for years, politicians never seemed concerned until the recently proposed Dubai deal. For instance, Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean accused the president of outsourcing the safety of American ports and said that blocking the deal was a great victory in the war on terror.
Hillary Clinton jumped on the same bandwagon, denouncing the Dubai port deal and accusing the president of shortchanging homeland security. All the while her husband, Bill, advised the United Arab Emirates on how to land the lucrative U.S. port deal.
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