Monday, February 20, 2006

GOP's King: Port Takeover Security Inadequate

At issue: P&O, Inc. (probably an initialism by now) currently controls port operations at six US ports, including New York Harbor. While this company is foreign-owned, it does not have any government among its owners. But--another firm is about to buy it out, and the United Arab Emirates holds a stake in that firm.

That's bad news. Worse than "just looking bad," it creates an opportunity for mischief. No foreign government should ever hold a stake in the operations of our harbors.

Representative Peter King, as head of the House Homeland Security Committee, is the most visible "man on the case." But Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the caretaker Senator keeping Jon Corzine's seat warm until the election, has also introduced a bill to block foreign-government-owned firms from operating US ports, and he has Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) as co-sponsor. I'm surprised that either Senator would see the national-security point. But they've got the right idea this time, and I hope their bill passes.

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