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Some Americans listening to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) pontificate about the UAE ports deal may not clearly remember when her husband tried to steer through a deal to let a Chinese government-owned firm take over an abandoned U.S. Navy terminal. This flashback to an Oct. 15, 1997, appearance in the House Judiciary Committee by Atty. Gen. Janet Reno might refresh their memory:

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R.-Calif): "Are you aware of the fact that in April of 1996 China’s state owned shipping company COSCO, the China Ocean Shipping Company, signed a lease for the port of Long Beach with the active endorsement of President Clinton? … Are you aware that it’s true that the Clinton Administration endorsed this deal without seeking any national security review?"

Reno: "I believe you’re getting into a matter now that I should not further comment on, since it’s part of a pending investigation."

Gallegly: "Okay. Are you aware that the lease for the Port of Long Beach was signed only three weeks after one of COSCO’s ships, the Empress Phoenix, was discovered smuggling Chinese arms in clear violation of the law, including 2,000 AK-47 assault weapons?" Reno: "Mr. Chairman, I don’t think I should further comment or address this line of inquiry, because I think it’s getting into details of an investigation."

Hillary Clinton, of course, did not criticize the COSCO port deal.

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