Monday, February 27, 2006

I'm leaning towards supporting the Dubai ports deal

As my post below indicates, I had an open mind about the Dubai ports deal (that is, the deal to sell British company Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. to UAE-owned DP World). I haven't given it much thought, though.

However, this AP article caught my attention. In its usual zeal to discredit all things Republican- or Bush-related, the AP headlines its article (written by Liz Sidoti) "Paper: Coast Guard Has Port Co. Intel Gaps." Yahoo!'s news link to the article is titled "Coast Guard warned of port security intel gaps." Well, what does the article say?

Here's the first paragraph: "Citing broad gaps in U.S. intelligence, the Coast Guard cautioned the Bush administration weeks ago that it could not determine whether a United Arab Emirates-based company seeking a stake in some U.S. port operations might support terrorist operations."

Sounds pretty bad, eh? Because of "broad gaps" in intelligence, the Coast Guard is unable to determine whether DP World supports terrorists. How could the Bush administration approve the deal with these "broad gaps" in our intelligence? Apparently, Bush just likes to rush into things with faulty or absent intelligence.

That is clearly the jist of the AP article's headline and first few paragraphs. However, seven paragraphs into the article, we learn this:

"The Coast Guard said the concerns reflected in the document [me: apparently, these Coast Guard concerns were set forth in a document released by Sen. Susan Collins discussed at some hearing today] ultimately were addressed. In a statement, the Coast Guard said other U.S. intelligence agencies were able to provide answers to the questions it raised."

Get that? All of the Coast Guard's concerns - the "gaps" in the Coast Guard's intelligence (and, really, what kind of intelligence repository is the Coast Guard anyway?) - were adequately addressed by other U.S. intelligence agencies before the deal was approved.

What's worse, read this paragraph, buried way down in the AP article: "The Coast Guard indicated to The Associated Press that it did not have serious reservations about the ports deal on Feb. 10, when the news organization first inquired about potential security concerns."

In other words, the AP knew the Coast Guard has no present security concerns as of February 10. The AP's headline is therefore false and misleading by using the present tense word "has" when describing the Coast Guard's long-since resolved and no-longer-harbored intelligence questions. A more accurate headline for the disclosure of the Coast Guard document by RINO Susan Collins would be "Coast Guard's security concerns over Dubai port deal were adequately addressed prior to the deal's approval." Such a headline would never run in the AP because it does not fit the conventional liberal wisdom that Bush is a liar, ignores or manipulates intelligence, all to enrich his oil business buddies.


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