13 Undercover prompts Port of Houston change


This was Libya on February 22: massive protests, a mass exodus of refugees and word that mercenaries brought in by a bloodthirsty commander Khamis Ghadafi were turning Libyan cities into a slaughterhouse.

The Houston port commissioners met that day didn't express any public concern. Of course, taxpayers didn't know that just weeks earlier, that same Libyan commander had been given a special briefing and tour of Houston's port facilities. A port email made clear it was not a media event.

"At the briefing, did I have a full understanding of his background? No I didn't," said Alec Dreyer with the Port of Houston.

A few weeks ago 13 Undercover exposed the port's Libyan connection, showing you pictures from the smiling photo op with Khamis Ghadafi and Port Chairman Jim Edmonds.

We've since learned that our port commission had an ongoing deal to make money from Libya, had exchanged delegations for almost two years, spending tens of thousands of your dollars.

In February of 2010 the port's president had even signed this memorandum of understanding with Libya to help develop their ports, analyze security.

But Tuesday morning, without advance public notice, the port commission voted to terminate its Libyan connection.

"I think the commission wanted to send a clear signal because of the recent events of that country that we are not going to do any business in that country," Dreyer said.

With an admission that 13 Undercover's revelations was part of the reason why.

"You learned it from our story?" we asked Dreyer.

"That's a fair statement; there was new information there, information we've seen in the press. I think that was part of the underlying reason for the action that the commission took today," he said.

The Libyan connection was the latest venture of the port's nine-year-long effort to sell its wisdom of running our port to ports around the world as a consultant. The failed project will end up costing you about $2 million, money that could have been used to lower port taxes.

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