Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 27, 2006

Coast Guard had concerns about Dubai ports deal

Filed under: Port and Maritime Security — by Christian Beckner on February 27, 2006

Via the AP, the Coast Guard disclosed its prior concerns about the Dubai ports deal at a HSGAC meeting held earlier today. From the story:

“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.

“The breadth of the intelligence gaps also infer potential unknown threats against a large number of potential vulnerabilities,” the document says….

The document raised questions about the security of the companies’ operations, the backgrounds of all personnel working for the companies, and whether other foreign countries influenced operations that affect security.

These are the exact types of vulnerabilities that I expressed concern about a week ago, and they are what need to be aggressively analyzed in the extended 45-day review. If that review finds nothing specific, then I’m inclined to believe that this deal should go through, subject to safeguards that protect against an insider threat, as I proposed here.

Update (2/27): Via Findlaw, here’s the memo.

Update 2 (2/27): Some background information from the GAO (see pg. 59) on the Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center, which authored the memo:

Intelligence Coordination Center (ICC). This strategic intelligence center serves as the focal point for interaction with the intelligence components of the Department of Defense, other law enforcement agencies, and the intelligence community. The ICC supports all Coast Guard missions and is the center for Coast Guard intelligence collection and management.

And this description from an official US Navy document:

The Intelligence Coordination Center, a Coast Guard tenant command at the [National Maritime Intelligence Center], provides strategic intelligence support to Coast Guard law enforcement, military readiness, port security, marine safety, and environmental protection missions. The ICC serves as the Coast Guard’s 24-hour I&W watch, maintaining a current picture of all maritime threats. It serves as the Coast Guard’s primary interface with the collection, production, and dissemination elements of the national intelligence and law enforcement communities.

Update 3 (2/27): The Coast Guard’s statement about this report, sent out by the DHS press office tonight:

Statement by Coast Guard Spokesman Commander Jeff Carter on Coast Guard Port Transaction Analysis

“What is being quoted is an excerpt of a broader Coast Guard intelligence analysis that was performed early on as part of its due diligence process. The excerpts made public earlier today, when taken out of context, do not reflect the full, classified analysis performed by the Coast Guard. That analysis concludes “that DP World’s acquisition of P&O, in and of itself, does not pose a significant threat to U.S. assets in [continental United States] ports.” Upon subsequent and further review, the Coast Guard and the entire CFIUS panel believed that this transaction, when taking into account strong security assurances by DP World, does not compromise U.S. security.”

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1 Comment »


Comment by JB Smith

February 27, 2006 @ 9:12 pm

Christian – Rigorous analysis, amazing how you find all of these resources. How do you have time to work for IBM full time and produce your blog? Keep up the good work!

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