I’m getting a little tired of know-nothing Washington officials acting like they know something.

Or maybe it’s a case of know-something politicians hiding something.

Either way, it’s not funny any more. But I’ll report, you decide.

There seems to be a concerted effort under way – from Washington to Salina, Kan. – to deny the very well-documented plans of the Bush administration and members of Congress to build a “NAFTA superhighway” from Mexico, through the U.S. heartland, into Canada.

Simple reporting on this plan, as WND alone has done, using the government’s own words and documents, continues to result in tongue-in-cheek ridicule from the political class.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

For instance, last week, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was on one of his semi-annual pilgrimages to meet his constituents. One of his stops was a luncheon at the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. The event was chronicled by the local birdcage liner, which dutifully reported everything the senator said without challenge.

According to the story, Gary Swartzendruber, the Democratic candidate for Saline County commissioner, asked what sounds like a very good question. It is one increasingly being raised by concerned members of the community there – including Democratic congressional candidate Nancy Boyda – and, for that matter, by informed people across the United States.

The question was basically this: What do you, the esteemed chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has just been lecturing us about the need to be vigilant against domestic terrorism here in the heartland, think about “discussions that are under way for a proposed NAFTA superhighway.”

Roberts scoffed.

In fact, he tried to turn the legitimate question into a joke.

In fact, what he did was turn himself into a joke.

He said: “Actually, it’s 12 lanes and it goes through K-State on game days so we don’t have to mess with the orange barrels.”

Now, being a bi-coastal kind of guy, I’m sure that answer makes some sense to the Midwestern sensibility – even if I don’t completely understand it myself. But, the point is, Roberts was trying to be funny. Rush Limbaugh he is not.

He went on to add: “There’s nothing I’m aware of in any authorization bill. I don’t know where these things get started. This is one of those blogosphere things that makes you wonder what’s going on.”

Now, given that Roberts made an allusion to the Internet in this response, I get the feeling he knows precisely where this thing got started – right here at WND. This is not the blogosphere, however. This is WND, one of the largest news sources on the Net.

This is not a rumor.

This is not conjecture.

This is not conspiracy mongering.

This is simple reporting of what is public information on the public record.

It frightens me that Pat Roberts is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee but doesn’t know what’s going on right here in the U.S. – in fact, right in his own backyard. Or, scarier still is the distinct possibility he knows very well what is going on but is determined, for whatever reason, to obscure the reality of what it taking place.

Is Roberts just pretending not to know about NASCO – North America’s SuperCorridor Coalition? Or could he really be in the dark? Either option – and there are only two – represents a frightening scenario.

Let me take this opportunity to direct the man who oversees intelligence matters for the U.S. Senate to a speech by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta of April 30, 2004, in Fort Worth, Texas, before North America’s Superhighway Coalition. Read these words carefully and tell me if you think the “NAFTA superhighway” is a pipedream of those wearing tinfoil hats.

“President Bush is keeping America on track for a more prosperous future with his commitment also through international trade,” he said.

“And it will not be news to anyone in this room that our top two trading partners are our northern and southern neighbors, Canada and Mexico. NAFTA has opened the doors to expanding and flourishing trade across our borders. Since its implementation, total U.S. trade with Mexico has increased almost 200 percent – with 70 percent of the U.S./Mexico trade passing through Texas. There are, however, some things that we still need to do in the United States to fulfill our obligations under the NAFTA treaty. One of them is to finally open the market between Mexico and the United States for trucking and busing. …

“And to our friends from Mexico who are here today, I say, ‘Welcome, and get ready.’ Opening the border is of mutual benefit. It will bring greater efficiencies in transportation so important in the competitive global environment. And it will bring robust opportunities for American companies, more jobs for American truckers, better deals for American consumers, and expanding activity along our trade corridors.

“I know that the members of NASCO are gearing up. And your efforts are very important not only locally, but also to the national – and global – economies. Indeed, I want to congratulate NASCO President Sandy Jacobs and the Superhighway Coalition for your leadership. You recognized the promise of this expanding trade relationship with our NAFTA partners early on.

“You also recognized that the success of the NAFTA relationship depends on mobility – on the movement of people, of products, and of capital across borders. The people in this room have vision. Thinking ahead, thinking long-term, you began to make aggressive plans to develop the NASCO trade corridor – this vital artery in our national transportation system through which so much of the NAFTA traffic flows. It flows across our nation’s busiest southern border crossing in Laredo; over North America’s busiest commercial crossing, the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit; and through Duluth, and Pembina, North Dakota, and all the places in between – like the Siouxland. Tuesday, I met with representatives of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce who were in Washington, D.C., from Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. They shared some of their plans along the I-29 portion of the NASCO corridor.”

There is no question about plans – well-known to the Bush administration and many of Pat Roberts’ colleagues in the Congress – for what is sometimes called “the NAFTA superhighway.” The secretary of transportation knows about it. Perhaps he could give the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee a special briefing.

Or, alternatively, Pat Roberts could ask what has come to be known as the “NASCO Caucus” in Congress to bring him up to speed. Just check out NASCO’s website to see about the meetings between the activists and those they consider to be in their “caucus” last March and in April 2005.

In addition, for Sen. Roberts’ sake, I’ve compiled below some of the reports WND has done on this subject – dating back to 1999. Perhaps he could have a crack member of his intelligence staff peer through them to determine if any error can be found.

Previous stories and commentaries:

NAFTA superhighway to mean Mexican drivers, say Teamsters

Flash: WND is not Newsweek

Super-Corridor to oblivion

U.S.-Mexico merger opposition intensifies

Docs reveal plans for Mexican trucks in U.S.

Kansas City customs port considered Mexican soil?

Southern border blurs for global trade

More money for international highways

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