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Port Operators Do Not Run Security Operations

While certainly not a trivial matter by any stretch, a former lead US Customs official states clearly why the Dubai Ports World operation of US ports is not the acute security concern perceived by some and advertised by others.

Robert Bonner, the former US Customs commissioner who oversaw the tightening of port security following the 2001 terrorist attacks, believes critics have overestimated the influence that terminal operators have over ports. "The security concerns here are greatly exaggerated," he says. "The responsibility for the evaluation and inspection of anything coming into the US is not the responsibility of the port owner or the terminal operator. It's the responsibility of the federal Government."

This echoes precisely the logic which lead to the conclusions reached when it was simply asked, Slower, Please.

Also, from the same article:

But Rob Burton, director of security consultancy Blue Water Partners, says some concern is merited. "The Coast Guard and Customs may have oversight but it is the people on the ground handling the cargo that have most effect on security and that is usually the terminal operators."

He's is correct also, but remember that these cargo handlers are American longshoremen, not imported workers as seems to be part of the misconception among the most fearful in opposition.

Thankfully, it looks like this whole process will proceed slower. After 45 days of thorough review, the facts more clearly understood will almost certainly abate the fear that exists today.

1 Comment

Thanks for the sanity. It seems to me there is a much bigger threat posed by super-tankers full of crude or LNG that regularly transit our ports, regardless of who owns them. The furor over this sale is partisan politics and spin at it's finest (worst).