Monday, February 27, 2006

WorldNetDaily: When the nuke comes to port

The true subject of the article that goes under that provocative headline is a company named Allied International Development, under the presidency of one Robert Pfriender. According to this article, Mr. Pfriender's company proposed to build offshore inspection facilities that would check each and every shipboard freight container while it was still on board--and twenty-five miles out, so that if one of the containers did turn out to be a nuclear device, we'd lose the ship and the off-shore dock extension but not the entire city. I quote further:
Not only did Pfriender ensure the proposal was seen by Customs officials as far back as August 2002, less than a year after the Sept. 11 attacks, he also took the time to see that virtually every member of Congress received this proposal – along with officials in the White House, the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.

Interestingly, the only response he received from Customs was a letter signed by Jason Ahern, the administration's point man on pushing the UAE deal through.

The article implies, though it does not state, that Mr. Ahern is the one who prefers to rely in what is called "virtual inspection." Mark Simone explained it on the radio two mornings ago: they check the manifests of every container, and inspect those that don't weigh as much as the manifest says they should, or whose weight calculations are beyond any rational estimate, or which otherwise raise suspicions.

My attempts to find Web references to Allied International Development or to Robert Pfriendler have come to nothing. But if someone claims to have found a way to inspect every single container while still aboard its ship, and before said ship has come any nearer to port than twenty-five miles, then the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ought to listen. And if an American firm offers to run our ports, and to do it in a secure manner, then it ought to have precedence over any foreign firm.

Handing the running of our ports over to foreigners never did make sense--though I can understand arguments for increased efficiency in an era when security might have seemed of relatively minor concern, or when foreign management might have been considered trustworthy. But that was then. This is now. I have three thousand reasons for holding the position I have now taken.

And so I urge anyone reading this to call your congressman and Senators and ask them why an American firm, which has offered to revolutionize port security at a time when a revolution is required, ought not have that chance.

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