Senators Respond to Bush's Position on Ports

A number of Congressmen have released statements recently voicing their vehement opposition to the to the possible transfer of six major U.S. seaport operations to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates. However, Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) has come out backing the President in his decision.

Below are remarks made by four U.S. senators, including McCain:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.):

"Recent reports that a company based in the Middle East is seeking to purchase the operating rights to several U.S. ports raise serious questions regarding the safety and security of our homeland. The decision to finalize this deal should be put on hold until the Administration conducts a more extensive review of this matter.

"It is important for Congress be involved in this process. I have requested a detailed briefing on this deal.

"If the Administration cannot delay the process, I plan on introducing legislation to ensure that the deal is placed on hold until this decision gets a more thorough review.

"This is not the first time questions have been raised about the Executive Branch’s review process, led by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, for these types of transactions. These deals could have a major impact on America’s security, the protection of which is our greatest responsibility. The CFIUS process needs to be more transparent and include a role for Congress that includes reviewing these deals, and possibly voiding them if necessary."

Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.):

“We all need to take a moment and not rush to judgment on this matter without knowing all the facts. The President’s leadership has earned our trust in the war on terror, and surely his administration deserves the presumption that they would not sell our security short. Dubai has cooperated with us in the war and deserves to be treated respectfully. By all means, let’s do due diligence, get briefings, seek answers to all relevant questions and assurances that defense officials and the intelligence community were involved in the examination and approval of this transaction. In other words, let’s make a judgment when we possess all the pertinent facts. Until then, all we can offer is heat and little light to the discussion.”

Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Penn.)

"I am asking that your Administration do what the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) did not do, prevent this sale…fundamental mistakes were made that permitted this proposed acquisition in the post-9/11 world to be approved.

"By permitting the performance of port services by an entity with a checkered past in combating radical Islamic extremism and corruption, the U.S. is in essence outsourcing its vital port functions and security services.

"Given the importance of this pending acquisition, I urge that you move expeditiously to intervene and use whatever powers might be at your disposal to halt the transaction."

Sen. Jon Kyl (R.-Ariz.):

"I share in the concerns that many of my constituents have voiced about the transfer of our major U.S. seaports operations to a company that is controlled by the United Arab Emirates. I believe that it raises serious questions about national security. I support efforts by Congress to look into the proposed deal and will continue to work with my Senate colleagues to stop it."