September 29, 2006, - 10:25 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Over the last several months, I’ve wondered why we haven’t heard a thing about who is running our ports, following the agreement that Dubai Ports World would not.
Well, the reason is that Dubai Ports is still running our ports. The company still has not sold its U.S. assets, according to a tiny blurb at the bottom John Harwood’s “Washington Wire” column in today’s Wall Street Journal.
DUBAI PORTS WORLD still hasn’t sold U.S. assets.
Months after furor over port deal, lawmakers scramble to save efforts to tighten U.S. government’s foreign investment reviews. House leaders will seek compromise bill at lame-duck session.
They fear New Jersey Democratic Sen. Menendez, facing challenge, may block bill while advocating stricter scrutiny. An executive involved says sale of DPW assets may occur “a little beyond” six-month deadline set in March.
A senior U.S. official says the company has pared bidders to three.
Hopefully those three are American or Western in nature. We wonder what would comprise a “compromise” bill on control of our ports and other vital sites and infrastructure. Odd that, yet again, a liberal Democrat is tougher than the Republicans–on this issue. And sad.
Meanwhile, a WSJ editorial decries something equally disturbing:
Remember the powerful International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the AFL-CIO? The unions were instrumental in protesting the Dubai Ports deal. But they’re on the wrong side on another vital ports security issue.
The ILWU and AFL-CIO are lobbying Congress not to bar felons from working in sensitive dock security jobs.
As you may have read, the House and Senate are finalizing the port security bill. Reports the Journal:
A provision sponsored by Senator Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) would prohibit dock workers convicted of certain felonies — including murder, espionage or treason — from obtaining access to secure areas. Workers convicted of other felonies — say, extortion, smuggling, bribery, identity fraud or the unlawful possession or distribution of firearms — would be prevented from getting clearance until seven years after conviction. The Department of Homeland Security has issued a similar regulation, though it isn’t final.
Yet the longshoremen’s union — the same outfit behind the 2002 West Coast port shutdown — and its labor allies are muscling Congress to strike the DeMint provision. Larry Willis, the general counsel for the Transportation Trades Department at the AFL-CIO, says that the felonious categories that would bar workers are “too broad.”
Too broad? Some 750,000 workers currently have unescorted access to secure port areas, including longshoremen, truck drivers and rail workers. People with a criminal record would seem to be obvious candidates for recruitment by bad guys trying to infiltrate the docks. The felony standards Congress is considering are also similar to those that are currently enforced for airport workers or nuclear-plant guards.
Terror supporters from the Islamofascist world running our ports is an unacceptable condition. But so is having American crminals involved in crimes like espionage and treason in the ports’ secure areas.
Both are equally ridiculous, if we have any intention of protecting our borders . . . and our shores.
Tags: American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations, Congress, Debbie Schlussel, Department of Homeland Security, Executive, General Counsel, House, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Jim DeMint, John Harwood, Larry Willis, Menendez, New Jersey, S.C, Senate, senior U.S. official, South Carolina, Transportation Trades Department, U.S. government, United States, Wall Street Journal, Warehouse Union, West Coast