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2/19/2006 3:48:13 PM

Updated 01/25/06

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CNN Anchor Worries Ports Outsourced to Terrorists
“Lou Dobbs Tonight” hypes fear, excludes defenders of Arab port company

By Ken Shepherd
Free Market Project
Feb. 14, 2006

Send this page to a friend! (click here)     CNN’s Lou Dobbs has often made the “Outsourcing of America” a focus of his nightly program, “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” But on the February 13 edition, Dobbs and reporter Bill Tucker went a step further, insinuating the federal government may be outsourcing U.S. port operations to a company prone to terrorist infiltration by allowing a firm from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to run port operations within the United States.

     “Excellent job of reporting, Bill Tucker,” Dobbs thanked his correspondent, wondering aloud “why the government sees no problems with having the United Arab Emirates, a company based there, take over our vital seaports.” Tucker had left out any opposing points of view, although he quoted the concerns of a liberal Democratic senator and a defense analyst from a liberal-leaning think tank.

     Tucker opened his taped report noting that the company, Dubai Ports World, “is set to take control of operations in ports in the United States” including the ports of New Orleans, Miami, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. After airing a clip of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticizing the contract, Tucker reminded viewers that The UAE was home to two of the September 11 hijackers.

     While Tucker noted that a spokesman at the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) refused to comment, he aired reaction from The Brookings Institution senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon, who said ports were “essentially on the front line in the war on terror … so allowing a foreign firm to operate a port is sort of like allowing a foreign firm to operate a U.S. military air field in a traditional conflict.”

     Not all security experts share O’Hanlon’s concern, among them the Independent Institute’s Dr. Ivan Eland. The former Congressional Budget Office defense analyst disputed O’Hanlon’s military air field comparison and told the Free Market Project that Dubai Ports World has “an especially strong interest in operating safe and secure ports,” adding that a guilt-by-association connection of a UAE-based company to 9/11 hijackers is like calling “all Californians mass murderers” because “Charles Manson was from California.”

     “How do we know that any American company running the port could not be infiltrated by terrorists?” Eland asked. “In fact, the fact that two of the 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE leads to greater scrutiny on Dubai Ports World. If any terrorist incident occurred in one of their ports, they could lose much business worldwide.” He added, “This would probably not happen to a port operated by a company from a non-Arab country.”

     The Free Market Project has previously chronicled the anti-free market biases of CNN’s Lou Dobbs.


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