A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Monday, February 27, 2006

The Coast Guard Had Questions Too.

AP: Document: Coast Guard Warned of Port Gaps---

WASHINGTON - Citing broad gaps in U.S. intelligence, the Coast Guard cautioned the Bush administration that it was unable to determine whether a United Arab Emirates-owned company might support terrorist operations, a Senate panel said Monday.

The surprise disclosure came during a hearing on Dubai-owned DP World's plans to take over significant operations at six leading U.S. ports. The port operations are now handled by London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company.

"There are many intelligence gaps, concerning the potential for DPW or P&O assets to support terrorist operations, that precludes an overall threat assessment of the potential" merger," an undated Coast Guard intelligence assessment says.

"The breadth of the intelligence gaps also infer potential unknown threats against a large number of potential vulnerabilities," the document says.
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The document raised questions about the security of the companies' operations, the backgrounds of all personnel working for the companies, and whether other foreign countries influenced operations that affect security.
(emphasis added)

Those are the same questions bloggers and others have had about the ports deal. Is President Bush going to say the Coast Guard is discriminating? Will the WSJ OpinionJournal editors pooh pooh what the Coast Guard questioned too?

Administration officials defended their decision not to trigger a 45-day review of national security implications of such a deal.

"In this case, the concerns that you're citing were addressed and resolved," Clay Lowry, the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for international affairs, told lawmakers.

The Coast Guard indicated to The Associated Press that it did not have serious reservations about the ports deal on Feb. 10, when the news organization first inquired about potential security concerns.

"Any time there's a new operator in a port our concern would be that that operator has complied with the (International Ship and Port Facility Security) ISPS code overseas and we just want to take a look at their track record," Cmdr. Jeff Carter, Coast Guard spokesman, said at the time. "And then we would look forward to working with them in the future ensuring they complied with all applicable regulations and international agreements," he added.
Even so, why are we wrong in posing the same questions? We only wanted the answers that, apparently, the Coast Guard was satisfied with. But, to get those answers, we have to ask the questions. Nothing discriminatory about that.

More from Mark Levin. And here is another post from Mark, containing the Coast Guard's press release (from today), saying:

What is being quoted is an excerpt of a broader Coast Guard intelligence analysis that was performed early on as part of its due diligence process. The excerpts made public earlier today, when taken out of context, do not reflect the full, classified analysis . . .