HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PSI!….In an article less tinged with snark than usual, Dana Milbank critiques National Security Advisor Steven Hadley’s appearance at the fifth anniversary celebration of President Bush’s Proliferation Security Initiative.

This is one of the administration’s initiatives designed to keep us safer since 9/11, but they can’t tell us what it’s doing to keep us safer because that would tell the evildoers.

I’ll agree with Milbank that Hadley’s speech was deadly dull and chock-full of stuff he didn’t need to say. But The Sun goes him one better, aided by certified neocon and John Bolton aide David Wurmser. Wurmser is not at all happy that the PSI has grown to 90 nations from the seven he and Bolton personally selected.

This initiative was precisely an answer to the ossified, broad based proliferation structures that were failing us. It was meant to be an association of like-minded nations genuinely worried and serious about counter-proliferation.

Hadley gave one of those mysterious non-examples, all identities removed to protect sources and methods, as they say.

One example of its success occurred in February 2007, when four nations represented in this room worked together to interdict equipment bound for Syria — equipment that could have been used to test ballistic missile components. A firm in one nation had manufactured the equipment. A firm in another nation was the intermediary that sold it to Syria. The shipping company was flagged in a third nation. And customs officials at the port of a fourth nation were alerted to offload and inspect the equipment — and send it back to the country of origin.

Wrongdoer nations were included: one of the nations “represented in this room” had hosted the firm that manufactured the equipment, another hosted the intermediary firm and a third hosted the shipping company. This says nothing about their governments’ involvements, which were presumably on the side of the angels.

But it is an example of why you’ve got to talk to everyone. Which is probably what’s upsetting Wurmser.

(h/t to MC)

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