Ports Deal: At least more Americans pay attention
While the controversy over who gets to administer port operations in some of our seaports was an embarrassment for the Bush Administration, it had a pleasantly surprisingly upside for this observer. Convinced by the Sinistra Media’s downplaying of what is at stake, I had concluded it would take several more 9/11-type attacks before the American people would understand that we are in a war-to-the-death with a bunch of nuts. But now, it appears many Americans have decided that Arab-terrorists might actually pose a threat.
Moreover, many Americans learned for the first time that only about five percent of those big, 40-foot cargo containers are inspected before they are hooked up to a tractor cab and hit our highways and byways. Some learned for the first time that Hutchinson-Whampoa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Red Chinese government, controls the ports at each end of the Panama Canal and actually operates the locks for the Panama Canal Authority.
Others learned that Hutchinson-Whampoa controls a Bahamian port just 60 miles east of Miami and that the Red Chinese, through a series of corporate cut-outs, are a major presence in the ports of Long Beach and San Diego.
While the black eye earned by the Bush Administration for initially supporting the idea that the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-owned Dubai Ports World (DPW) should be operating some U.S. ports was well deserved, we now need go forward with some badly needed seaport and airport security improvements.
For example, airline security would be vastly improved by two steps: (1) Face down the politically-correct crowd and start screening the people most likely to cause harm rather than waste time and resources being virtual proctologists to folks who obviously do not fit the terrorist profiles and (2) Start doing background checks and security screening on the thousands of behind-the-scenes airline workers who have virtually unfettered access to the airliners you may be taking to see the old folks at home.
As for seaports, the cargo screening needs to be done at the cargo ports of origin or a least when ships of any nation (to include our own) reach our outer territorial limits. Frankly, once a ship laden with nuclear or chemical or biological weapons is inside our ports, it is really too late. So, in that regard, the DPW deal probably would have done no harm; however, the DPW deal would have done nothing to improve our current sorry state of seaport security.
We can take comfort in the knowledge that some highly effective cargo screening devices have come on line, with more coming every year. Going into detail serves no purpose. Why alert the terrorists so they can take alternative actions?
That would be like leaking the details of NSA’s electronic sweeping of calls between suspected or known terrorists in this country with suspected or known terrorists abroad. Note: the Sinistra Media keep calling them “wiretaps” when no wires are involved. But then, that suits their politically-correct agenda.
Incredibly, some still don’t understand that a U.S-based terrorist can use one of those $19.95 throw-a-way cell phones to communicate with his or her overseas, terrorist chieftains and vice versa. No search warrant or physical wiretap is ever going to be able to react quickly enough to stop that kind of cell phone use. Only the NSA’s electronic sweeping has a prayer of catching those kinds of phone calls.
Moreover, cell phones make excellent remote triggers for bombs. A cell phone can provide enough electric current to set off the blasting cap needed to trigger the main explosive charge. Even though nuclear devices are complicated; a cell phone call can set in motion the necessary arming and detonation sequences to blow a hole the size of Manhattan.
The ill-fated ports deal should never have been considered. But it least it shows that more Americans are beginning to understand that a bunch of crazies are trying to kill us all.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2006. William Hamilton.