It is said that Washington does two things well: nothing and overreact. Both have been in high relief in the last week in our nation’s capital.
Americans learned just a few days ago of the approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States that a company owned by the United Arab Emirates had purchased the ability to operate ports in six major American cities.
Those on the “do nothing side” argued very quickly that the contract had been vetted in the CFIUS program, a 30-day perfunctory review. They argued that no more review was necessary, despite the fact that the UAE had been the home to the banks that funneled money to the 19 hijackers on 9/11 and in fact had endorsed the Taliban government in Afghanistan before that attack.
On the “overreact side,” many in Congress, especially it seems Democrats in the Senate, called for a complete cancellation of the contract without regard to the fact that, since 9/11, the UAE has been a strong ally of the United States, providing a safe harbor for more 500 of our ships to be refueled and readied.
For my part, I joined those in Congress who called for a thorough investigation of this contract. In the next month and a half, and in an agreement reached this weekend between the Administration, Congress and the companies involved, a 45 day review will go forward.
But in order for this contract to be moved forward, the American people must be absolutely certain that doing so will not compromise the methods and practices that the Coast Guard, Customs and Homeland Security employ to protect our ports.