A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Thank You, Mr. Frist

AP: Frist to Offer Bill Halting U.S. Port Deal---

WASHINGTON - Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist called Tuesday for the Bush administration to stop a deal permitting a United Arab Emirates company to take over six major U.S. seaports, upping the ante on a fight that several congressmen, governors and mayors are waging with the White House.

"The decision to finalize this deal should be put on hold until the administration conducts a more extensive review of this matter," said Frist. "If the administration cannot delay this process, I plan on introducing legislation to ensure that the deal is placed on hold until this decision gets a more thorough review."

"I'm not against foreign ownership," said Frist, "but my main concern is national security." He was speaking to reporters in Long Beach, Calif., where Frist was doing a fact-finding tour on port security and immigration issues.
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Frist, R-Tenn., spoke as other lawmakers, including Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said they would offer emergency legislation next week to block the deal ahead of a planned March 2 takeover.

Frist's move comes a day after two Republican governors, New York's George Pataki and Maryland's Robert Ehrlich, voiced doubts about the acquisition of a British company that has been running six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates.

The British company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., runs major commercial operations at ports in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia.

Both governors indicated they may try to cancel lease arrangements at ports in their states because of the DP World takeover.

"Ensuring the security of New York's port operations is paramount and I am very concerned with the purchase of Peninsular & Oriental Steam by Dubai Ports World," Pataki said in a statement. "I have directed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to explore all legal options that may be available to them."

Ehrlich, concerned about security at the Port of Baltimore, said Monday he was "very troubled" that Maryland officials got no advance notice before the Bush administration approved the Arab company's takeover of the operations at the six ports.

"We needed to know before this was a done deal, given the state of where we are concerning security," Ehrlich told reporters in the State House rotunda in Annapolis.
Senator Frist's Press Release is here.

Michelle Malkin has more on How the Port Sellout Was Financed.

Unlike Senator Frist, I don't believe in foreign ownership of this type. These are our ports, not England's (remember the Revolution we fought to make them ours?), not the UAE's, not France's, not Mexico's. We ought to be in charge of them, run them, and bear responsibility for them.

What's next? Allowing Saudi Arabia or Mexico to staff the White House?

Most importantly, our national security is at stake. At least Britain is with us in the War on Terror. Perhaps the UAE is too . . . nominally. But those are two different types of countries. Would we have allowed a country related to Germany to run our ports during World War II? Even if that country was, like the UAE, kind of helping fight the bad guys (the Nazis then, the Terrorists now)?

I don't think so and I don't believe we should allow this now. No one else is going to watch out for our safety. And we can't protect ourselves if we voluntarily give the Barbarians the Keys to the Gates.