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February 23, 2006

PEGGY NOONAN: "We are debating port security. While we're at it, how about airport security? Does anyone really believe that has gotten much better since 19 terrorists hijacked four planes five years ago?"

I don't.

UPDATE: More here: "Security experts say U.S. ports have long been ill-prepared for a terrorist attack -- regardless of the nationality of the owner."

Homeland Security remains pretty much a joke -- air, sea, and land. The good news is, the Dubai deal won't make things worse at Baltimore:

At least one of the ports where DP World is set to operate, Baltimore, has been dogged by security shortcomings for years. A Baltimore Sun investigation in June 2005 revealed that the port's fiber-optic alarm system on the perimeter fence malfunctioned and was usually switched off, and that port police were so understaffed that their patrol boats often dry-docked because there was no one to operate them. The newspaper also found that a pair of "video cameras" guarding the entrance to one important marine terminal were actually blocks of wood on poles.

Last summer, a tour of the port, the nation's eighth largest, revealed gaps in perimeter fences, unattended gates, surveillances systems that didn't work and insufficient police patrols on land and sea. State officials have acknowledged security gaps and said they have been working to close them.

It can only get better, apparently . . . .

Read this piece by Jim Glassman, too: "Isn't this precisely what the United States preaches? Don't we want places like Dubai to fight terror and to grow, to invest, to buy, to trade, to adopt Western commercial practices, to expose themselves to the rest of the world and thus become tolerant and moderate?" Read the whole thing.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Over at WizBang, a correction is offered regarding my views on airport security. I stand corrected.