Saturday, February 25, 2006

[National] Bad Idea From Darlene Hooley

A letter to Congresswoman Hooley:

Your recent e-mail (click here to see) questioning the transfer of port management to Dubai Ports World is a bad, bad example of pandering, and the staffer who briefed you on this issue made a mistake.

If we don't have trustworthy friends in the Muslim world, we will never find peace with an open society based on world trade. We must avoid showing Muslims we are xenophobic, and since this is a transfer from one overseas management corporation (which also was not rigidly inspected before they took the reins) to another, drawing attention to *this* transfer tells Muslims we can't, won't, don't trust them.

Port management companies follow the procedures DHS and the Congress dictate.

If you are truly concerned with security, then provide full funding for 100% inspection, for even if we had 100% US ownership of port management, our container inspection system system inspects only 5% of all containers and only 1 % of containers are inspected overseas.

One nuke (out of how many hundreds of the tens of thousands made? out of how many hundreds of ex-Soviet suitcase nukes which are unaccounted for?) exploding on the deck of a ship in harbor, would make large portions of any city uninhabitable for decades, because water detonations create the worst possible conditions for contamination.

Add to that the likely enhancement of the device by surrounding it with metals which would become radioactive easily, like cobalt (not a controlled or tracked substance because of its industrial utility and commonality). That easy and undetectable step would multiply the lethality of fallout several hundred fold, and anyone with the time to think about the matter would see that cargo inspection has no business being performed in a metropolitan area.

I realize you're overworked and understaffed, and your staff are overworked, but insulting Muslims (which I ain't, by the way) through challenging the transfer of port management to a corporation with Muslim leadership won't make us more secure, and will have the opposite effect. It will add fuel to the fire by insulting the Arab world.

Please, instead, seek full funding for 100% inspection of every cargo container arriving, either offshore or in locations far away from high density population areas. THAT is a positive solution to this problem.

1 comment:

John Bartley K7AAY said...

And, here's the Congresswoman's Bad Idea:

Dear Friend:

This week, I joined with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to put a stay on the turnover of major port operations in six U.S. cities to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-owned and -operated Dubai Ports World (DP World).

In the post 9/11 world, we need to consider our homeland security, first and foremost. The stakes are too high and the consequences could be disastrous if the Administration goes forward with this plan without intense oversight and investigation.

That’s why I’m working with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY) and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS) to pass legislation in Congress that would :

+ Require the President to place a stay on DP World's takeover of P&O Ports;

+ Require the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to commence an immediate 45-day investigation on the takeover's effects on National Security;

+ Require the Secretaries of Homeland Security and the Treasury to prepare a full report and brief members on their findings; and

+ Provide Congress with the opportunity to disapprove sale within thirty days.

According to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, the Committee on Financial Investment in the United States (CFIUS) did not conduct a thorough investigation of all security information prior to approving the DP World acquisition. Existing law requires CFIUS to conduct a review of proposed acquisitions to evaluate national security concerns. If security concerns remain after a 30-day review, a more thorough 45-day investigation is initiated. This 45-day review concludes with a Presidential evaluation. In the case of DP World, no investigation was ever initiated and the review process provided insufficient time for agencies to thoroughly evaluate security and conduct necessary risk assessments.

I’ve also called for Congressional hearings in my own House Financial Services Committee on the proposed takeover of port operations. In a letter to Committee Chairman Mike Oxley I requested that the Committee hold hearings on CFIUS’ approval of the pending sale of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P & O) to DP World .

The letter to Chairman Oxley stated:

“A hearing is urgently needed. Congress and the American people deserve to know how this decision was made. We cannot stand by while our major ports are turned over to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates without even the national security investigation required by law. Moreover, this decision raises serious questions about the CFIUS process and whether Congress should play a greater role to prevent this sort of result.”

Last night, we learned that DP World has agreed to voluntarily delay the transaction. This is a positive development. However, the underlying question of “Can the UAE be trusted?” has not yet been answered. Until that question has been completely and satisfactorily answered, I will continue to oppose the takeover of U.S. port operations by DP World.


Member of Congress

Congresswoman Darlene Hooley
2430 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

P.S. Please feel free to forward this e-mail to your friends and family.