Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More ports

Yesterday, Senator Susan Collins released this unclassified excerpt from a Coast Guard report produced in December. You can read other stories here (AP), here (WaTi), and here (NYT).

The burden of the excerpt--a small portion of a larger report produced early in the process--is that there are questions as yet unanswered regarding security. Fair enough.

The Coast Guard says they were answered by the time CFIUS made its final decision:

At the briefing on Monday, Adm. Thomas H. Gilmour, assistant Coast Guard commandant for marine safety, security and environmental protection, said the unclassified portion of the review should be considered in the context of the full report, which is classified.

And a statement issued Monday night by the Coast Guard described the excerpt as part of "a broader Coast Guard intelligence analysis that was performed early on as part of its due diligence process." The statement said the excerpt, taken out of context, did not reflect the full analysis, which "concludes ’that DP World’s acquisition of P&O, in and of itself, does not pose a significant threat to U.S. assets in ports.’ "

Senator Collins can’t imagine that these questions were answered by the end of the 30-day process, but here’s what someone from DHS said:

"We negotiated unprecedented assurances from these two companies with respect to their security practices, assurances that I think addressed the question of what are their operations," said Stewart A. Baker, an assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security.

I understand what opponents of the sale gain by releasing the Coast Guard snippet, which appears, but only appears, to vindicate their concerns, both about the sale and about the approval process. Offering us partial information like this simply serves further to inflame public opinion, or perhaps to fan flames that were beginning to die down. But it doesn’t help us resolve the question of whether this is a good and safe sale.

I also note in passing that Hillary Rodham Clinton is co-sponsoring two bills, one to mandate the 45-day review of this sale and retain Congress’ authority to block it and one that would altogether "block the sale and ban companies owned by foreign governments from controlling U.S. port operations." The latter suggests that she has made up her mind and that no further information can alter her conclusions, which is not a position becoming to someone who is a member of what used to be called "the world’s greatest deliberative body." While I expect that she thinks this helps her presidential aspirations (bashing an ally shows that she’s tough on national security?), but I wonder how warm a welcome she would receive as President (shudder!) from our erstwhile allies in the Gulf.

Update: Rich Lowry smells a nativist rat.

Discussions - 1 Comment

but I wonder how warm a welcome she would receive as President (shudder!) from our erstwhile allies in the Gulf.

Given their attitude to women, I’m guessing whatever she does will go down like a lead ballon.

Some people just can’t recognise talent ...

Besides should these totalitarian monarchies really be our (I use "our" in the broader "northern hemispheran" sense) allies? Strikes me as a bad idea, a marriage made in ... well not heaven.

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