Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Connecting The Dots On Port Deal

The dots are beginning to connect to explain President Bush's insistence that we sell the control of our nation's major ports to a state-run United Arab Emirates company. The New York Daily News has a story identifying close ties between the UAE firm and two top administration officials.

Treasury Secretary John Snow formerly headed CSX, which sold its international port operations to Dubai Ports for $1.15 billion in 2004 before Snow joined the administration. Dubai Ports now seeks to purchase the London-based company which operates ports in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and Miami among others. The Treasury department, under Snow's leadership, approved the sale of the company controlling these ports. Last month, Bush tapped David Sanborn to run the U.S. Maritime Administration. Sanborn worked for Dubai Ports as head of its European and Latin American operations.

U.S. Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-New York) commenting on the proposed sale said, "It's particularly troubling that the United States would turn over its port security not only to a foreign company, but a state-owned one." Both House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist are now vowing to block the sale.

The New York Times adds, "The confrontation between Mr. Bush and his own supporters escalated rapidly after the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, and the House speaker, J. Dennis Hastert, joined Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Gov. George E. Pataki and a host of other Republicans in insisting that the transaction must be extensively reviewed, if not killed. That put them on essentially the same side of the issue as a chorus of Democrats, who have seized on the issue to argue that Mr. Bush was ignoring a potential security threat. The White House appeared stunned by the uprising, over a transaction that they considered routine — especially since China's biggest state-owned shipper runs major ports in the United States, as do a host of other foreign companies. Mr. Bush's aides defended their decision, saying the company, Dubai Ports World, which is owned by the United Arab Emirates, would have no control over security issues."

The truth is coming to light slowly but surely.

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