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Citing broad gaps in U.S. intelligence, the Coast Guard cautioned the Bush administration that it was unable to determine whether a United Arab Emirates-owned company might support terrorist operations, a Senate panel said Monday.

That sentence makes no sense to me. The Coast Guard can't determine whether DP World "might" support terrorist operations? Can the Coast Guard determine whether any company might support errorist operations?

"There are many intelligence gaps, concerning the potential for DPW or P&O assets to support terrorist operations, that precludes an overall threat assessment of the potential" merger," an undated Coast Guard intelligence assessment says.

P&O is the current ports operator. If there are intelligence gaps that preclude making an overall threat assessment of a British port operator, as well as a Emirates port operator. Why only the fuss over the latter?

Look, you know I carry no water for the Bush administration. There is no doubt in my mind that seaport security is lax and that the Bush administration is to blame for that, post 9-11. But I don't see a much if any difference between these seaports being run by P&O and DPW. They're both essentially run by Western businessmen.

Are there national security concerns about an Arab company managing American seaports? Sure. There are also national security and economic implications for rejecting DPW. The Emirates are moving in the direction we want all Arab states to go and the anti-Arab nature of the controversy over this deal only reinforces America's poor image in the Muslim world. This left-wing spasm of anti-Arabism isn't any better than right-wing demagoguery, in my opinion.

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