Port Security

The whole uproar over the fact that a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates is helping to run certain ports is interesting. Pundits from both sides of the aisle are pounding the Administration for this decision. I certainly understand, even share their concern. However, I wonder if this might perhaps be the result of a misunderstanding over what the UAE company will actually do. The Christian Science Monitor reports (via Daniel Drezner):

Companies like P&O [The UAE company in question] don’t provide security at the ports. The US Coast Guard and Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement do. For instance, in New Orleans, P&O is one of eight terminal operators responsible for marketing the port, signing agreements with shipping lines, hiring labor, loading ships, and moving cargo.

But P&O has no responsibility for security. “We have our own police force, harbor patrol, customs officers, and Coast Guard,” says Chris Bonura, spokesman for the Port of New Orleans. “That won’t change no matter who is operating the terminal.”

I will admit to being somewhat confused as to why this is so important to Bush – his numbers are low and this could endanger an area where his numbers remain fairly strong – national security. Yet Bush has shown again and again that he is unwavering when he thinks he’s right, and he does not like Congressional meddling. Perhaps cooler heads should prevail. But as it stands, I just don’t see cause for the fury that has erupted over this issue.

On the other hand, getting Charles Schumer to endorse racial profiling is pretty amusing.

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