Monday, August 14, 2006
Key oil port concerned about security
Los Angeles, Miami, the New York region -- those are areas that probably come to mind when you think about port security. But in Louisiana, the focus is on Port Fourchon (pronounced Foo-shon).

The port is a beehive of activity, with hundreds of boats constantly on the move, carrying supplies or crew members to offshore oil rigs. There are miles of pipes waiting to be put on ships and brought out to sea for use on oil rigs and on the ocean floor.

But what you don't see is what makes the port commission here worried about the possibility of a terrorist attack.

Each day, more than 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are pumped from offshore to Port Fourchon through underground pipelines. The site handles nearly 20 percent of all the crude oil the United States uses each day.

A well-planned terrorist attack would sever this critical energy artery, causing significant damage to the U.S. economy.

Right after 9/11, Port Fourchon received a healthy security grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It enabled the port to set up 16 cameras with an unblinking eye on all important sites on the 700-acre facility. The harbor police also bought a patrol boat to monitor activity near offshore rigs.

But Port Fourchon can't count on getting any more money from DHS, even though the federal agency doles out millions of dollars each year.

Ted Falgout, the port's commissioner, says DHS changed the criteria for its security grants -- DHS gauges the amount of cargo that comes in, and oil through a pipeline doesn't fit that bill. So Port Fourchon will likely have to be content with what it has, despite its desire for more patrol boats, harbor police and training.

So the busy port goes on with business as usual, hoping it never has to deal with a terrifying "what if" scenario. DHS did not respond to requests for comment on this story.
Posted By Sean Callebs, CNN Correspondent: 7:11 PM ET
  36 Comments
We deserve our own fate, however it comes to us.

The Majority of American Voters voted for a Republican Majority in the Congress, a Republican Majority in the Senate, and a Republican in the Executive Branch.

The American Voters watched everything during the first 4 years go down hill, and then voted to relect them ALL.

Enjoy despotism America - you voted for it!
Posted By Anonymous Chris , San Diego, CA : 7:36 PM ET
Sounds like the federal government is using the same preventative strategy it used on the levees in New Orleans. They will just wait for the unthinkable to happen and then just say "If only we just knew." Why do that treat Louisiana like it is not part of this nation?
Posted By Anonymous doctorj, Hammond, LA : 7:52 PM ET
The DHS can't respond to you because they have more important things to do like wire tap soccer moms conversations and stuff like that. Once again, thanks Bush.
Posted By Anonymous Bill Summers, College Station, Tx : 8:03 PM ET
Sean, it's the same thing with the Washington State Ferries. We have the largest ferry system in the country, yet the Bush administration cut the homeland security funding because Washington is a democratic state (at least that's what it boils down to). Basically, you get more funding if you're a republican state, even if the need isn't as great. It's all political, not based on need. It's very sad and I hate to see something very bad happen before our current administration learns from their mistakes.
Posted By Anonymous Beth, Edmonds, WA : 8:21 PM ET
The oil companies whom use this port certainly can afford pay for their own security.

In fact they should do the same in Iraq, instead of having U.S soldiers do it for them.
Posted By Anonymous Cris, San Francisco, CA : 8:42 PM ET
It sounds to me like DHS has not now or ever will learn their lesson.
If they know that a terrorist attack could be easily planned, it seems to me that should be their top prioriy.
If the Bush administration would spend less of the tax payers money on the Iraq war and sending arms to Israel, just maybe Americans could breathe easier..
Posted By Anonymous Bev. Whitby, Ontario. Canada : 9:03 PM ET
I agree with the ideology of "you get what you asked for" as to our political system.

DHS has become a late night television joke and I am concerned this lack of security will end up being another disaster waiting to happen. We need Anderson back in the U.S. after his long awaited vacation to focus and draw further attention to this issue!
Posted By Anonymous Sandy, Seattle, WA : 9:04 PM ET
The first three comments in the bolg are,.. reactionary to say the least. The first "we deserve it because you voted Republican" shows a total lack of respect for democracy. I suppose you would only send DHS funds if the port were run by a Democrat. The second,..sorry, but believe it or not we are in a budget crunch and things have to be prioritized based on risk. The third,...learn about your government,..please. DHS does not wire tap,...that is the NSA.

But above all, thank you CNN for doing the terrorist's home work for them. Now they know where our vulnerabilities.
Posted By Anonymous Kyle, odenton MD : 9:15 PM ET
I'm sure if we looked at every method of transportation in and out of this country we would find many more situations such as these. Yes, it is frightening to be reminded our collective "fly" is open and we are exposing our weaknesses for all to see. Maybe all of this will scare people into actually thinking about the candidates they're voting for. Or motivating them to get out to vote. Or better yet, become active in government and communicate with those who represent them.

Right on to Chris in San Diego: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." HL Mencken
Posted By Anonymous Kathy, Murphysboro, IL : 10:09 PM ET
No funds to put in for security is true, but the problem is, just like when you are on vacation and spend all your money before your last destination, the US has spent all they have fighting wars for someone else and now the can't protect their own self. Sadly, those they fought on their behalf are now busy finishing their own country and still get funding for weapons and technology from the US.

Sad!!! Very Sad!
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Montreal, Canada : 10:20 PM ET
You know budget crunch or not, as a country we need to stop wasting unnecessary dollars on a war which we have no business in and start protecting ourselves.

New Orleans' two ports are, by tonnage, the nation's biggest. The state handles 1/3 of this countries seafood and more than 1/4 of its oil and natural gas! Not to mention that we house the 4 largest refineries in the Western Hemisphere.

Think about these facts when you think about Port Fourchon. Think about these facts when you don't want your tax dollars to rebuild our levees. Get your head out of the clouds and think about the gas prices you'll start having when you knock us off the map and start supporting your fellow Americans.
Posted By Anonymous Gretchen Schneider, New Orleans LA : 10:28 PM ET
So why are you putting this story out? Most terrorists weren't going to know about this place or how easy it is to attack until you told them! Why give them ideas?!
Posted By Anonymous Fran, Phoenix, AZ : 10:28 PM ET
After the last three hours of CNN reporting on how vulnerable America is, terrorists can stop that pesky business of building their Trojan Horse - apparently, they can just sail right into the ports of America undisguised. As always, CNN was extremely thorough with their reporting. I wonder - did you give terrorists around the world their "Aha!" moment on how to cripple America? Thanks guys.
Posted By Anonymous Joan Summers, Lansing, MI : 11:04 PM ET
No response from DHS? I hope you weren't surprised. It's what they're famous for! Unfortunately, states with ports need to make provisions for their own security. No one should depend on the federal government for assistance.

When the going gets tough, the government is gone.
Posted By Anonymous Deb, Richmond VA : 11:15 PM ET
Amazing, that again, Louisiana is left to fend for itself in the wake of what could be a possible national disaster. I am sure, Louisiana, as we did after Hurricane Katrina, will arise to any challenge thrown in our wake. We are resililant people with an unwaiving need and compulsion to survive. Maybe the rest of this country could learn from those of us down here in the south that let NOTHING get in our way to survive and make things work regardless of the hopelessness or lack of whatever needs we have.

CNN Thank you again for such wonderful, fair and democratic (a word being used quite often in this blog) coverage of the daily events in our lives.
Posted By Anonymous Michele, Slidell, LA : 11:38 PM ET
Amazing, I had to read through three biased and vitrolic comments before Kyle's rang the bell. His take was the first thing that struck me after reading the article.

Although we have numerous vulnerabilities, we should never define them so clearly in the public media. As Kyle said, we have done the terrorist's homework for them. Most of our weak links would never occur to them on their own. Keep feeding them the good stuff. You might be part of our vulnurability problem here. Admittedly, our government cannot protect everything, but why open a universe of potential opportunity? Common sense here people.
Posted By Anonymous Bruce, Vicenza Italy : 11:42 PM ET
More money, more security checks, more patrols, more everything that could defend the normal peace loving world from terrorist attackes--more airport security, more hand luggage regulations
Instead of doing what ought to be done, what Bush and Blair know has to be done, what we will have to do in the end- that is all out war on terrorism. actively ATTACK terrorism instead of devising better defense
Posted By Anonymous BEAE, Upper Galilee, Israel : 11:50 PM ET
A lot of talk about risk factors and terrorists, but the risk factor over the last 15 years has been so low as not to be a concern to a US citizen! Age adjusted risk of death in the US as of the last government statistics was 600+ per 100,000 population. Terrorism has a risk of death at .2 persons per 100,000!

A lot of money in security apparently. The terrorists of the world, of which there are many, don't have to attack us! The merely have to threaten to attack us, and we pull billions of dollars out of the economy to stop them? Reation is a loser! Use risk management to determine the priority of spending money to prevent death rates that are significant, such as aids, cancer, etc, etc, etc!
Posted By Anonymous C Greene New Richmond, WI : 12:52 AM ET
Louisiana is a Republican state, despite the fact they have a Democrat for gov. And I have to say that I don't think CNN has done the terrorists' homework for them--anybody with access to the internet could find out about Port Fourchon. And besides, having iPods and learning how to play golf and tennis will always override the needs of American security.
Posted By Anonymous Tracy, Baton Rouge, LA : 1:21 AM ET
Kyle, I agree with you up to the end. I say thanks 360, for finding something we need to work on!!!
Posted By Anonymous Jim Beranis, Belleville, IL : 2:22 AM ET
Anyone can find tons of information on the Internet to expose our vulnerabilities, from chemical to nuclear plants. This administration has their own agenda that has nothing to do with the American people. It should by now be obvious from its response to Katrina, border security, the sale of our ports to a company owned by a foreign government, the erosion of the middle class and its utter failure to adequately protect its citizens physically and economically that this current government cares not a whit for the average American citizen. An oil disaster would play right into their hands, as their oil company campaign contributors and the old friends of the Bush family, the Saudi royal(and I use that term loosely) family would continue to benefit from high prices.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin Quail- Schaumburg, IL : 3:44 AM ET
Sean,
I hope for the sake of all Americans Alqaeda is not reading this blog!
Posted By Anonymous G.G.,Ontario, Canada : 7:23 AM ET
i am so glad that CNN told the copy cats about this port. For as we should know the real terriost already know about this place. I am confident that between CNN and the New York Times that you all will keep the want-a-be killers abreast as to how we are working on trying to keep America safe.
Posted By Anonymous Charles Stevens Morganfield,Ky. : 9:22 AM ET
I just have to ask myself every once in awhile, do people not think before they start to type.

First, lets just point out to the terrorists where our most vulnerable places are to attack and those places that will have the largest impact on our lives. Lets broadcast to the entire world that with only 16 cameras and a boat protecting it, the port in Louisanna is open for business.

Second, NO ONE deserved what happened on 9/11 period. Someone's political affilation does not make them deserving of a terrorist attack. I truly do not understand what is wrong with people who think this way. Terrorism does not care if you a Republican or a Demorcrate - all they care about is if your human and how they can kill you. Until we all get off of these political lines and start working as a solid force, terrorism is going to keep winning.
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth, Belleville, IL : 9:44 AM ET
Sorry Kyle, but you're not even listening to what you are saying. What is being said is that everyone in the US saw what a complete Republican run govt. was doing for the american people. Nothing. And yet, everyone voted for them again. There should be no surprise if some catastrophic event occurs in the US. We don't have competent people in office, and this has been occuring for 2 terms.

That is a total respect of Democracy. You get to vote for your own personal choice. That is a true democracy. Problem is that people don't like to admit when they are told the truth and that they were wrong for their decisions. There's absolutely no reason why after all of this time after 9/11 that we still don't have enough border patrol agents in the south or in the north bordering Canada, it's still been proven by federal agents that bomb making materials can still be brought onto a plane undetected, and we still would rather divide our country by telling someone that you're un-american, un-patriotic, or don't support our troops in conflict when you point out the absolute falsehoods of this entire Bush Administration.

Respect for democracy is what we've obviously lost as a nation. Don't think for a moment that Americans are the only ones that watch CNN.
Posted By Anonymous Dana, Cherry Hill, NJ : 9:44 AM ET
Our great country yet again is short sighted. Give the port the funding it needs. Its our taxpayer dollars, so put it to good use on defending our country, not on the politicians stupid pet projects. For example, the "BIG DIG" was useless, we couldnt even get it right the first time. That money could be helping prevent terrorist attacks and securing our homeland. It erks me that we have no real say in what "the peoples government" does with our money. All these politicans saying " iam here for you, for the people" are full of it. The government should fear the people, not the people fear the government.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Erie, PA : 11:16 AM ET
What's hilarious about the comments on this blog and the previous blog is that people are incensed at CNN and the media for exposing the "secret" vulnerabilities of this country, rather than being infuriated that so little common sense effort is being made to adequately secure borders, etc., albeit, when will any security ever be enough?
Reality check: the terrorists in question are not some dumb group or groups of individuals sitting around waiting for CNN or Fox News to give them some pointers on places to attack. These people are generally well-educated, have a mission and will spend incredible time and resources on devising the perfect plan.
Posted By Anonymous DC, New York, New York : 11:55 AM ET
For all you folks who think this will be new news for terrorists... I recommend you take a healthy dose of reality, and then wake up from the dream world you live in where Americans are superior to everyone else in every way.

If you think they haven't considered such targets, you should probably go volunteer to work for the government since obviously you know EXACTLY what they already do or don't know. You could be of great value, just pack up your crystal ball, and tell everyone in the world how to run things. Obviously you're qualified.

Give it a rest people. If CNN can find information, it's a fairly sure bet that the people working against our country already knew it. Contrary to what you think, hiding in a closet isn't the answer to all the world's problems. Putting this information out there for the public, is the way things get fixed, because unless there is public pressure, the current administration isn't going to do squat.

If you want to live in a world without the Freedom of the Press, I recommend you pack up and move to Iran, or Syria. I'm sure you'll be right at home not knowing anything.
Posted By Anonymous Alex R., Columbia, SC : 12:23 PM ET
No one can be so misguided as to think that terrorists don't know where our vulnerabilities are. Come on, they recruit our own citizens!! The ports of Louisiana have long since been regarded as potential targets for attacks with or without homeland security-which by the way doesn't exist. CNN has not made these lunatics privy to anything they didn't already know. You should thank the media for bringing such things as governmental incompetence to your attention. Don't you think there are things the government would rather you didn't know??

And as far as blaming the Republicans or the Democrats--political affiliations or beliefs can never justify murder. What terrorists do is related strictly to hatred. Blame? That belongs to the terrorists.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie, Baton Rouge, Louisiana : 2:09 PM ET
The President and Congress are not doing their jobs as described under the United States Constitution and are having an adverse affect on the national security of this nation.

Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution states "Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States". How does tax cuts keep the United States safe? Tax cuts are a extreme threat to the security to United States due to the loss of revenue. The House of Representatives does not have the authority to cut taxes, however, they have the authority as prescribed under Article I, Section 7 of the United States Constitution to raise revenue, "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills".

The Republican controlled Congress are not doing their job to protect us. They are one of the biggest threat to the national security and should be brought up on charges of treason.

I want to know why the press is not reporting on the un-Constitutionally of the tax cuts the President and Congress are enacting. This is a major violation of the United States Constitution and it the reason why we are not a safe as we should be and why the citizens of the Gulf Coast have been neglected. There is more to the United States Constitution than the First Amendment.
Posted By Anonymous Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA : 2:12 PM ET
The final report on 9/11 Commission Recommendations (www.9-11pdp.org) gave a "D" grade to our country's infrastructure protection. No national priorities have been established. No risk and vulnerability assessments have been made. Ask your Senator and Congressal represenative to make a change - it does not appear to be coming from the Bush Administration.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Los Altos, CA : 2:21 PM ET
I have a question I've been wanting to ask for quite a while -- when we "discuss" America's potential terrorist targets, either online or on television network news, are we just showing the terrorists the best places to strike our country? Shouldn't these "targets" be kept quiet and not discussed so openly?
Posted By Anonymous Barbara, Ventura, CA : 3:00 PM ET
I find this all amusing. Of course the terrorists already know what to target. CNN is hardly their source of information. My father works periodically down at Fourchon. Yes, it is a large port and target. It is also part of a parish (county) government that reaps the benefits of what these oil companies provide monetarily to it in terms of taxes, purchases of goods and services, and workers whose families live in the areas surrounding the port. I think the parish needs to play its part in helping protect its resources. When will our citizens wake up and realize that local and parish governments have a responsibility to protect themselves from terrorism? We act like three-year olds waiting on our parent (the US government) to take care of us when we are instead adults quite capable of helping ourselves if we try. Look at the people of LA and MS who didn't wait on the government and started to clean up and rebuild after Katrina and Rita. President Bush did honor his promise to the state of LA after the storms and provided money to the areas affected. Ask the local politicians what happened next. In terms of protection for our ports, ask the local politicians, communities, and companies who reap the benefits what they are doing to protect themselves. Once they take responsibility to protect their own, then blame the feds...
Posted By Anonymous TA Cheramie, Berwick, LA : 5:37 PM ET
I read most of these comments. I have only one question . Isn't the Government suppose to be there for "THE PEOPLE" instead of "THE PEOPLE" being there for the government?
Seems to me that somewhere along the way the Government stopped being there for the United States and has left us to do for ourselves. We voted them in people and that is the place where our voices are suppose to be heard.
Posted By Anonymous D. Bynum, Thibodaux, La : 12:36 AM ET
Wow, finally attention is being paid to the Fourchon situation. A couple of years ago my husband and I were fishing in that area and decided to drive by Fourchon out of curosity. We drove our truck freely and covered a lot of terrority. It was a deserted place (holiday). No hint of security anywhere in sight. We wern't stopped, questioned or noticed. What a shame!! A disaster waiting to happen.
Posted By Anonymous Kathleen LeBouef, Abbeville, La. : 1:29 PM ET
Ask NOT what your country can do for you, but rather ask what YOU can do for your country.

JFK A great American.
Posted By Anonymous Bruce, Vicenza, Italy : 1:41 PM ET
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