This is nuts

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Bush administration is defending a $6.8 billion private transaction giving control of six major American ports to a company controlled by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). How big is that hole in the administration's head?

Dubai Ports World is buying Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. of London. The former would take over ports in Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans. The UAE had ties to the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers.

Incredibly, this deal was rubber-stamped by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States. It is composed of representatives from the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Defense, Justice, Commerce, State and Homeland Security.

The United States' official position is that the UAE is an important ally in our war on terrorism. But this loose federation of seven states on the Saudi peninsula was an operational and financial base for the 9/11 attackers.

This country stood idly by as Hutchison Whampoa, with direct ties to China's military, gained control of port operations on the Panama and Suez canals -- shipping links vital to worldwide commerce and choke points quite strategic militarily. Now, we're welcoming with open arms, and on our own shores, those who aided and abetted our enemy.

This nutty deal is a risk to our national security. Everything that can be done should be done to scuttle it.