… there is an “organized disinformation campaign” in progress around the Dubai Ports World deal. The interesting question is why Glenn is helping that disinformation campaign along by linking to one of its perpetrators, Jim Geraghty of National Review Online.
The main piece of disinformation being peddled is that port operators don’t have any security responsibilities, so there’s no real risk to worry about.
Maybe it’s true that the government of the UAE, the government of Dubai, and the management of Dubai Ports World are all completely reliable allies in the war on terror, despite the friendly face the ruling family of Dubai showed not only to the Taliban but to Osama bin Laden right through 9/11. I’m not sure how anyone would know, but it’s at least logically possible.
But what’s certainly not true is that, if the deal goes through, Dubai Ports World won’t have significant security responsibilities. Port operators make and carry out security plans. It’s right there in the legislation.
Yes, port operators are supervised and regulated. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t do the actual work.
No regulatory system is perfect in controlling the behavior of the entities it regulates. So the character of the folks running the regulated operations makes a difference. (That’s why the casino commissions in Nevada and New Jersey work so hard at keeping the Mafia out of that highly regulated industry.)
Again, it’s possible that the security implications of the deal were thoroughly understood before it was approved. But the claim that the deal has no security implications is just false on its face.
On the other hand, it isn’t hard to let yourself be fooled, despite initial skepticism, if that’s what you really want. “Whoever wishes to deceive,” said Machiavelli, “will find another who wishes to be deceived.” Looks as if Karl Rove and Grover Norquist have found Glenn Reynolds.