Friday, March 24, 2006

Alright, I'm calling President Bush and the media out on the carpet over this one.

It seems the Bush administration is sending sophisticated equipment to the Bahamas used to detect radioactive material in shipping cargo. It gets better: US customs agents won't be the ones to scan what is on its way to our ports, rather, a Hong Kong company has been contracted to operate the equipment and supervise the results of radioactivity testing.

The Bush administration says it is finalizing a no-bid contract with Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. It acknowledged the deal is the first time a foreign company will be involved in running a radiation detector at an overseas port without American customs agents present.

Does this make sense to anyone?

The administration is negotiating a second no-bid contract for a Philippine company to install radiation detectors in its home country, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. At dozens of other overseas ports, foreign governments are primarily responsible for scanning cargo.

The president of Hutchinson Whampoa Ltd. is reportedly "in close" to senior leaders in the Chinese government, according to Larry Wortzel, head of an economic study group.

Get ready for some more obfuscation: Three years ago, the Bush administration effectively blocked a Hutchison subsidiary from buying part of a bankrupt U.S. telecommunications company, Global Crossing Ltd., on national security grounds.

China isn't exactly our friend, and after the firestorm over the Dubai Ports deal, this just doesn't make any sense. Some security experts questioned whether the U.S. should pay a foreign company with ties to China to keep radioactive material out of the United States.

To me, the worst part of this story is that after the huge stink the press made over selling the ports to A-rabs, not a single peep is being made about this! Where's the outrage?

Yuck. This is a huge crap sandwich, and I fear we're all going to have to take a bite...

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