The ABC News story about the lack of background checks on truck drivers at the New York/New Jersey ports has all the hallmarks of an authorized leak. No doubt ABC News “obtained” the report by having a DHS flack hand it to them. The ABC spin on the story is exactly the Administration spin: there are bigger security issues at the ports that the ownership of the P&O port-operation contracts. And Fox News was obviously cued up as well, giving the story some additional right-wing, anti-union spin.
1. Since the report documents weaknesses in port security that a terrorist organization could use to plan its operations, it could have been properly classified. (For all we know, it was in fact classified.) It was made public because doing so served the political purposes of the incumbent administration. The BushCo attempt to criminalize any leaks that don’t serve its political purposes should be recognized for what it is: a simple power grab, not a national-security measure.
2. It’s possible that the leak will do what it was intended to do: weaken opposition to the Dubai deal by showing that there are bigger problems elsewhere. But can it really be good long-term political strategy for the Administration to make a fuss about what a lousy job it’s done on homeland security? For once, Glenn Reynolds and I agree. This is a great issue for a Democrat who knows how to make it.