What does P & O Ports actually do? You can get a feel for their operations at the P & O Ports website and review actual operations of a specific freight handling operation here. Can you find any actual explanation of their function and purpose by reading this NYT piece? Is the term "port operations" defined at all in the piece? How about here, in this AP piece - any description of what "commercial port operations" entails? Now, here's a Reuter's report - "port operations" again.
So, three renowned news organizations have reported on a major story and provided you with a clear understanding of what is entailed in "port operations" to the point where you can speak or write with assurance concerning the potential security issues involved - right?
Substitute "freight terminal" every time "port operations" is used and realize that what is involved is simply providing the space and facilities to transfer freight from one carrier to another while facilitating the additional paperwork required per custom regulation and international banking rules. "Port operations" are on the same level as any freight transfer point at the Canadian or Mexican border. Or any air freight terminal receiving air freight from overseas. The reporters and media involved in this "story" are deliberately using terminology that implies control over the security of the actual port. P & O exercises no such authority nor will it ever have more responsiblity for security than do J. B. Hunt or Yellow Lines at their respective transfer hubs scattered all over the country. COSCO is a Chinese company which operates the maritime freight hub at the Port of Long Beach in California. Is their "control" of unloading and loading containers also a "security threat"?
Rosen and Lovelady must have trained the clowns who wrote these articles. The sad part is that the writers ultimate dependence upon P.T. Barnum's dictum concerning the frequency at which new customers are created appears completely justified. At least judging from the remarks made by the people whom we have elected to represent us at the greatest clown show on earth.
How much effort do you suppose it might take to bring five pounds of anthrax into the US? Would you spend $7B to do so?
UPDATE: Extra! Extra! An actual factual report has been found! Chuck caught this Christian Science Monitor piece that explains what P & O Ports really does. Google news reports over 1,700 articles written to date on the subject - this one may be written by the only reporter not trained at the Columbia School of Journalism.
If anyone finds another factual report - please mention it in comments and I'll update the post again.
[Updated by Seneca 13:40 Mountain: link to CSM story fixed.]