Friday, July 20

Dubai Ports World Update: Congress Sabotaged Intel Opportunity

Here was what I considered the best security reason for the approval of the attempted Dubai Ports World purchase of P&O Ports last year.

I suspect that the US also lost a huge intelligence treasure-trove. Everyone was running around, yelling about the possibility that someone might get access to something they should not see. Well that works both ways. What kind of intel might the US have gotten access to? Movement of cargo between two foreign ports making it easier to track WMD around the world? What would that have been worth? - Why the UAE is so Important to the Navy and America

Dubai Ports World was a leader in shipping terminal operations. Part of the foundation of the company was build on their previous purchase of US CSX World Terminals, which at the time brought no security concerns whatsoever. But none of that mattered. Congress was out for blood, and their hatred of anything the President approves of drove them to kill this deal, for no reason other than to overturn the White House on something. Anything. This combined with election hysteria, drove even Republicans far from being accussed of supporting this non-issue deal.

In today's news we have confirmation that the Dubai Ports World purchase would have resulted in a treasure trove of intel data for the US:

Former Inside the Ring co-author Rowan Scarborough has written a new book revealing a key reason the Bush administration pressed hard for the 2006 deal for the United Arab Emirates-based Dubai Ports World to take over management of several U.S. ports.

According to Mr. Scarborough, the administration wanted the deal to go through because the UAE government had agreed to let the United States post agents inside its global port network who could report on world shipping.

Dubai Ports currently runs port facilities at key U.S. intelligence targets, including Venezuela, China, Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia.

"Dubai Ports, in essence, was going to become an agent of CIA," Mr. Scarborough said in an interview. "The arrangement is helping us detect whether any kind of terror contraband was being moved around."

The management deal to run ports at New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and Miami was initially approved by the Treasury Department-run Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, but was eventually scuttled in 2006 after pressure from Congress. Both Republicans and Democrats raised concerns that the deal would affect U.S. port security since al Qaeda had used UAE as a major financial base for its terrorist network. - Washington Times

Not for anything, but guessing this intel possibility was a no-brainer for those in the shipping industry. (Despite this, I did not want to mention anything until the deal had fallen through). So great job Congress for sticking their noses into an issue they had no understanding of. (Kind of what they are doing now in attempting to be backseat drivers in Iraq.)

Of course, nothing has been done about the port threat reported here "Try this Port threat on for Size".

Original Post:
UAE DP World Port Deal is a Non-Issue - 19 February 2006

Follow-up Posts:
Congressional Action:UAE DP World Port Deal - "Dubai Hysteria" - 2 March 2006
UAE DP World Port Deal - Endorsed by Israeli Shipping Line - 3 March 2006
Congress Reaction "Ignorant, Scaremongering" - Maritime Industry - 8 March 2006
NJ Senator Lautenberg - "Dubai Hysteria" Victim - 8 March 2006
Why the UAE is so Important to the Navy and America - 9 March 2006
Michelle Malkin and Senior Republicans - "Dubai Hysteria" Victims - 11 March 2006

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