Trying to Contain the Story

I took issue with Paul McLeary at CJRDaily about his attempt to finesse the number of ports involved in the Dubai Ports World takeover of P&O Ports (scheduled to be inked tomorrow).

In my comments, I pointed out that contrary to his statement (helpfully supplied by a P&O spokesperson) that “there are only five ports with container terminals (as opposed to the six we keep hearing about)”, news reports and press releases by Senator Clinton don’t specify container ports. P&O/DPW operates the cruise ship port on the Hudson River side of Manhattan.

It takes no great stretch of the imagination to figure that you don’t need something the size of a shipping container to do some serious harm with the right weapon. Say you were a terrorist who’d gotten his hands on a nuclear cruise missile warhead. You’ve got a buddy who’s in charge of loading stuff onto ships all around the world. You tell him you’ve got some heavy contraband you’d like smuggled into New York. He agrees to help you, ships it to a Caribbean port of call, and gets it onto a cruise ship bound for NYC.

How big would that weapon be? If it was something the size of the W80 nuclear warhead designed for the Tomahawk and ALCK/ACM cruise missiles, it’d be about 300lb (plus something to put around it), about 4 feet long, and 1.5 feet in diameter (at least that’s what it looks like in the photo). A single W80 has the potential yield of 10 Hiroshima-sized bombs. I think you could probably hide a few of them on something the size of a cruise ship. And you don’t even need to offload them.