Monday, February 27, 2006

Dubai Ports Deal

Here's the deal as far as I'm concerned...

I don't know if DPW (Dubai Ports World) is the right company to run a bunch of American sea ports or not - I don't have access to the contracts, nor their details, nor do I have any expertise in this area. But something is fishy here.

First, someone in the administration tried to sneak this deal through quietly and without drawing attention to the obvious conflict of interest.

Then, both the President and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld denied knowing anything about this prior to it being announced in the news.

Next, we find out that there's supposed to be a 45-day public vetting process so that all interested parties could examine the deal, and somehow this law just got overlooked.

In addition, it has recently come to light that a number of high-ranking officers in the Bush administration have financial and political ties to the Dubai royal family which owns DPW.

And now, from comes this report...

These guys should at least get their stories straight.

Seeking to defend the sale of U.S. port operations to a company based in the United Arab Emirates President Bush this week said, “Our government has looked at this issue, and looked at it carefully.” His statements were backed up by assurances from White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan who told reporters "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."

But not so fast. On the same day, the Treasury Department issued a statement saying that Treasury Secretary John Snow, the chair of the committee responsible for the review and approval of the sale of the port operations “had learned of the approval of the Dubai Ports deal after the fact,” and that Assistant Treasury Secretary for International Affairs Clay Lowery was the most senior Treasury official involved.

The statement was apparently intended to put some distance between Snow and stories raising questions about what would appear to be a huge conflict of interest on his part.

It just seems to me that someone, somewhere in our administration must have known that this would raise a firestorm and wanted it kept quiet for personal reasons.

Who was it? Why was it? Is there a crooked deal going down here?

I am not convinced that this Republican Congress will find, or report, the truth during this new 45-day discovery period.

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