Regarding homeland security, February was a bad month for the Bush administration. The House of Representatives issued a scathing critique of the response to hurricane Katrina. Then came the fireworks over the sale of management contracts for six major U.S. east coast ports to Dubai Port World, a United Arab Emirates-owned company.
Critics alleged that outsourcing port security to the UAE was an invitation for disaster, particularly since Dubai purportedly had pre-9/11 links with al Qaeda and had served as the port of departure for A. Q. Khan's illegal shipments of nuclear-related technology. In fact, port security was not the issue. Politics were. Many Americans could not intuitively understand the decision to allow the transfer of the contracts to a UAE-based firm.
Unfortunately, neither event has addressed the larger questions that pertain to homeland security. Is the United States safer now than it was before 11 September 2001, and has the performance of the administration and the Department of Homeland security been up to the task of protecting the nation against natural or man-made disasters?