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Sunday, February 19, 2006

In DHS We Trust?

I don't know if this compromises national security or not. What I do know is that I am no longer comforted by the assurances of Michael Chertoff:

White House defends ports takeover stance, by Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Financial Times: The White House is embarking on a vigorous defence of its decision to approve Dubai Ports World’s ... takeover of P&O, the UK ports operator, in the face of mounting congressional opposition... by... lawmakers ... – both Republican and Democratic – that the deal, which will give Dubai-owned DP World five terminals along the east coast of the US, compromises national security.

A Treasury official said the White House would call on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assure critics on Capitol Hill that the deal was thoroughly investigated ... and that DP World had a long standing relationship with DHS. “You can be assured that before a deal is approved we put safeguards in place, assurances in place, that make everybody comfortable that we are where we need to be from a national security viewpoint,” Michael Chertoff, DHS secretary, said yesterday. ...

It is unclear, however, whether the White House will be able to assuage an angry group of lawmakers who have expressed incredulity.... Republican senator Lindsey Graham ... said ... “It’s unbelievably tone deaf politically ..., four years after 9/11, to entertain the idea of turning port security over to a company based in the UAE who avows to destroy Israel,” ... He joins ... Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican who ... is calling a hearing to discuss the issue, and Republican senator Susan Collins of Maine, who is also expected to voice concern on the issue. Senator Barbara Boxer of California ... said she would support a proposal by ... Hillary Clinton to pass legislation to block the transaction. ...

In an interview published in the Washington Post, Michael Brown says:

I don't think people outside the Beltway grasp how scripted this town is. People don't tell the truth; people feel boxed in so they can't tell the truth; people get dismissed for telling the truth. . . .

And, on Chertoff in particular, Brown makes it very clear he's willing to carry the ball for the administration:

I expect him to dump things on me. That's the way this town works. I'm very disappointed. ... I'm not sure it's the right thing to do, but it's the task he's been given.

Is what Chertoff says on this the truth, or a "task he's been given"? With national security at stake, that's a question we should not have to ask. Even Republicans think a hearing is necessary to find out the true risks from the proposed takeover.

    Posted by on Sunday, February 19, 2006 at 12:20 PM in Terrorism | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (5)

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