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Flashback to the 2004 Election Cycle on Port Security: John Kerry Was Right

by Pamela Leavey

The DSCC released information about Republican Senators and port security earlier today, see my post here. There’s a lot of chatter in the blogosphere about this deal, on the left and the right. Ron pointed out in the comments below, that conservative blog was calling Democrats “newly security conscious.” However, that is certainly not the case…

On December 17, 2003 John Kerry unveiled a “Plan to Improve Port Security and Prevent Terrorists from Obtaining WMD’s.” In another “Kerry was right” moment, John Kerry said:

In this dangerous world, we don’t know what that cargo really contains. And we can’t afford to continue being in the dark. We screen millions of shoes in airports everyday, but less than four percent of the 21,000 enormous shipping containers that arrive in America’s ports every day. Any one of them could have a biological, chemical, or nuclear weapon inside. We need to invest in and employ new technologies to screen the containers, ships, trains, and trucks that come into this country.”

How ironic, that Kerry saw the need to improve port security over two years ago, yet Bush has done nothing about it. Now in the wake of this UAE state-owned Dubai Port World deal to take over 6 major U.S. ports, it certainly seems as though port security is not really a concern of the Bush administration yet during the 2004 election cycle Bush consistently said it was. In October 2004, Bush was playing politics (as Digby pointed out) when he tried to paint Kerry as soft on National Security:

I will never hand over America’s security decisions to foreign leaders and international bodies that do not have America’s interests at heart.

Yet, now Bush is willing to turn over control of 6 of our ports to an international based, government owned corporation. What is up with that?

Kerry’s December 2003 plan for Port Security, was far from soft and certainly disproves the meme that Democrats did not have a plan or are “newly security conscious”…

Kerry outlined his plan to improve port security and prevent terrorists from obtaining WMD’s that can threaten our homeland:

I. IMPROVE PORT SECURITY. With 95 percent of all non-North American U.S. trade moving by sea, John Kerry believes we can’t afford not to take action on port security. Kerry will:

Ø Develop Security Standards for Ports.

Ø Invest in a System of Container Security.

Ø Fund More Customs Inspectors and Better Technology to Search Cargo.

Ø Support First Responders.

Ø Pursue Standards for Privately Held Infrastructure.

Ø Accelerate “Smart Border” Accords.

Ø Improve Security for Cross-Border Bridges.

II. PREVENTING TERRORISTS FROM OBTAINING WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. In addition to efforts to make our ports more secure, we need Presidential leadership to reduce the threat of WMD’s. The best way to prevent WMD’s from reaching our shores is to secure them and prevent their theft in the first place. As President, Kerry will tackle this issue head-on by:

Ø Appointing A Presidential Coordinator to Secure WMD’s.

Ø Establishing A Global Standard for Security for all Nuclear Weapons.

Ø Remove Potential WMD Making Material From the World’s Most Vulnerable Sites in Four Years.

Ø Creating a U.S.-Russian Commitment to Secure Russia’s Nuclear Weapons.

Ø Ending the U.S. Effort to Build Bunker Busting Nuclear Bombs.

And again, let’s reiterate… the Bush plan for Port Security 2006 — sell control of our ports to the highest bidder, Dubai Ports World.

Final note, the White House flip flopped today when they announced that Bush conveniently didn’t know about the deal. The last time we heard Bush didn’t know was just a week or so ago… after the Cheney hunting incident.

7 Responses to “Flashback to the 2004 Election Cycle on Port Security: John Kerry Was Right”

  1. Yea, but he didn’t attack Bush forcefully enough and caved instead of fighting the election results, blah, blah, blah. (sarcasm). Sorry, just having a so-so day. Wasn’t there a lot, he was right on?

  2. Bush doesn’t know what God doesn’t tell him. And if God doesn’t tell him, it’s not important.

    Randi Rhodes had some info on UAE that is probably correct. Apparently they import people from other countries – I think they are brought to Dubai by individuals who have obtained passports/visas etc. When they arrive, their passports are taken and they become slave labor. Some 600 apparently tried to protest by blocking a major road and if I remember right, were all hauled off to prison. The prisons are apparently on record as being hellholes. Nor do they have due process, or many of those bothersome American Values or Interests that involve Justice, Human Rights, etc.
    UAE also has one of the least regualted banking institutions in the world. This is in spite of the fact that when we “followed the money” from the 9/11 attack, the buck stopped in UAE. Hmm, surely what we pay them for running our ports would NEVER end up in al Qaeda hands.

    Obviously, if we have people like Delay and Abramoff runnng the companies that run the ports, we’d be in just as much doo doo. But at least we could keep a closer eye on them. Possible keep from awarding the contracts to begin with???

  3. Ginny

    I missed Randi Rhodes tonight. Not good news, what she reported. Thanks for filling us in.

  4. The more this Administration goes on the more I wonder if “Kerry was Right” should be a theme for the next election. Indie is right. I remember tracking news stories on the bogus security grants and nothing came of it.

  5. This is SUCH bullshit from Bush. Dude, how could he not be aware that Chuck Schumer has been OBSESSED with port security for years. He did a release on it on DECEMBER 9, 2001, and has been beating the drum (as only Chuck can) ever since. At last count, I think he’d held 312,251 Sunday press events on it.


  6. Kerry was right about a lot of things, and takes way too much flack from both sides… if not for Ohio…

  7. If the dem leadership wasn’t always so ready to knife Kerry in the back then they would remind people on TV that Kerry and schumer has talked about this for years.

    I guess it would be to much for some of them to admit that their 04 candidate did do something right.

    Perhaps Kerry needs to submit his ideas again. Let hil grandstand about portgate. Kerry can offer substance and ways to help remedy the problem.

    If Hil is out front on this one Rove will use it against the dems and nothing will come of it.