Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More Bad News On Port Deal

Several new developments today concerning the proposed sale of a London-based company, which manages major U.S. ports, to the state-owned company Dubai Ports of the United Arab Emirates, offers more reasons to halt this deal:

  • The administration spent less than 30 days reviewing the proposed sale before offering its blessing to the deal, raising concerns that the deal received a cursory look by government regulators at best.
  • The administration broke federal law because the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. ignored the mandatory 45-day investigation it was required to perform after its initial 30-day review under the so-called Exon-Florio provision of the Defense Production Act.
  • The administration had a secret deal with the United Arab Emirates in connection with the sale which required the business to cooperate with future investigation by revealing records "on demand" about "foreign operational direction" of its business at U.S. ports, but the deal omitted key safeguards which typically accompany such agreements. The company is not required to maintain copies of its business records on U.S. soil where they can be subject to U.S. court orders, and it is not required to designate a U.S. citizen to respond to any government requests.
  • President Bush, who announced yesterday he would veto any congressional attempt to block the sale, only learned of the deal himself a few days ago after it was already approved by his administration and others raised questions about it. How can he be so insistent upon the approval of an agreement he didn't even learn about until a few days ago. Did daddy Bush whisper something in his ear to stir him to act?

Today's developments only confirm what we already concluded. This deal must be stopped.

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