Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bush Unaware of Ports Deal Before Approval

Washington Post - 22FEB06 - WASHINGTON -- President Bush was unaware of the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates until the deal already had been approved by his administration, the White House said Wednesday.

Defending the deal anew, the administration also said that it should have briefed Congress sooner about the transaction, which has triggered a major political backlash among both Republicans and Democrats.
While Bush has adamantly defended the deal, the White House acknowledged that he did not know about it until recently.

"He became aware of it over the last several days," McClellan said. Asked if Bush did not know about it until it was a done deal, McClellan said, "That's correct."

"The president made sure to check with all the Cabinet secretaries that are part of this process, or whose agencies or departments are part of this process," the spokesman said. "He made sure to check with them _ even after this got more attention in the press, to make sure that they were comfortable with the decision that was made."

"And every one of the Cabinet secretaries expressed that they were comfortable with this transaction being approved," he said.
"I can understand why some in Congress have raised questions about whether or not our country will be less secure as a result of this transaction," the president said. "But they need to know that our government has looked at this issue and looked at it carefully."

A senior executive from Dubai Ports World pledged the company would agree to whatever security precautions the U.S. government demanded to salvage the deal. Chief operating officer Edward "Ted" H. Bilkey promised Dubai Ports "will fully cooperate in putting into place whatever is necessary to protect the terminals."

prying1 sez: - I appreciate President Bush and am a Pro Bush Republican but on this one I disagree with him.

That was said to counter an Air America mouth that said the republicans stand behind Bush no matter what.

The instability of Arab nations at this time would only put the security of our nation at risk. Apparently Dubai is the most stable of the Arab nations. That is supposed to make me feel better about this deal?

All it would take is one fanatical Muslum in the list of Dubai Ports World employees to turn vital info to his friends. One weak point exploited and we have another terrorist action on U.S. soil. The ports have enough weak points as it is. This deal would only add to it.

hat tip to Doug at Below the Beltway
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