Sunday, February 19, 2006

Controversy over the management of major US ports by Arab firm continues

Well, the fit has hit the shan on this, as they say. And well it should.

As I reported a few days ago, The Bush Administration approved what I consider to be an unbelievably unsound measure to let a UAE Dubai-based company take over six of our busiest ports, including New York Harbor, Baltimore and Miami.J O S H U A P U N D I T: Should the Arabs control American ports?

I cold understand how this might have slipped through the Federal bureacracy, and expected the President to call for an investigation of this deal. Instead, they are defending it! Unbelievable.

You might remember the UAE's history as an operational and financial base for the Mohammed Atta's hijackers who carried out the attacks of 9/11. One of the hijackers hailed form this area. In addition, the UAE was an important transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya by the infamous Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr.A.Q. Khan.

The head of Homeland Security, Nicholas Chertoff made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows defending the ports deal.

"You can be assured that before a deal is approved we put safeguards in place, assurances in place, that make everybody comfortable that we are where we need to be from a national security viewpoint," Chertoff said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

Frankly, I don't believe him. This sounds more like an example of Washington bureaucrats attempting to cover for one another.

Senator Lindsay Graham (r-SC), among others, agrees with me. He said said it was a mistake for the administration to approve the sale and called on Congress to investigate it.

"It's unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history, four years after 9/11, to entertain the idea of turning port security over to a company based in the UAE who avows to destroy Israel," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday."

"I don't think now is the time to outsource major port security to a foreign-based company."

This puts Senator Graham(and me)in the embarassing position of being on the same side of this issue as Senators Schumer, Boxer, Clinton and Menedez, all of whom have said they would support legislation to block this sale.

I was on the horn to some of my favorite congressmen last week, and I urge you to do the same.

President Bush needs to intervene and stop this sale. Now.

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