Alright Everyone. I am not doing a political rant. So if you get offended. Just move on to another post instead? I'm only posting
this. So that we could set the record
straight. And to show some of those,"who's been posting
." The events
that are taking place here!
A United Arab Emirates-based company sought to avert an impending political showdown by offering on Sunday to submit to a second - and broader - U.S. review of potential security
risks in its deal to take over significant operations at six leading American ports
In six pages of documents sent to the White House, Dubai-based DP World asked for a 45-day investigation of plans to run shipping
terminals in New York
, New Jersey
, New Orleans
Republican leaders in Congress expected the Bush administration to accept. The offer defused threats by some lawmakers to introduce legislation this week that might delay or block the deal.
The president's national security
adviser, Stephen Hadley, said before the company's announcement that the White House supported efforts to delay the ports deal as long as it was not derailed. The administration did not immediately endorse the company's proposal, although senior U.S. officials and DP World executives have closely coordinated their efforts in recent weeks.
DP World's offer was highly unusual. The secretive U.S. committee that considers security risks of foreign companies buying
or investing in American industry has conducted such full investigations only about two dozen times among the more than 1,500 international deals it has reviewed.
The company said that during the renewed scrutiny, or until May 1, a London-based executive who is a British citizen would have authority over DP World's U.S. operations. It pledged that Dubai executives would not control or influence company business in the U.S., but said it was entitled to all profits during the period. It also said it will appoint an American to be its chief security officer in the United States.
"We hope that voluntarily agreeing to further scrutiny demonstrates our commitment to our long-standing relationship with the United States," said Edward H. Bilkey, the company's chief operating officer.
President Bush forcefully has defended his administration's earlier approval of DP World's proposal to buy London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation
Co. It was not immediately clear whether the re-examination by U.S. officials would produce a different outcome.
"We're satisfied that there's been a complete review of the deal," Francis Fragos Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser, said on "Fox News Sunday."
In the administration's earlier review, completed Jan. 17, DP World agreed to cooperate with law enforcement investigations and disclose records on demand about "foreign operational direction" of its business. The U.S. review committee unanimously approved the deal after a regular 30-day review, during which U.S. intelligence agencies reported they found no derogatory information about DP World in their files.
As part of that review, the administration did not require DP World to keep copies of business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to orders by American courts. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. government
requests for information or assistance.
In the legal
papers sent to the White House, DP World said it would abide by the outcome of the lengthier review but indicated it could sue if the results were any different. The administration could seek additional security measures beyond the terms already negotiated.
A chief critic of the ports deal, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said the company appeared to invite the more thorough investigation sought by many lawmakers. King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the proposal should be enough to delay any immediate effort in Congress to block the deal.
"If it is what it appears to be, to me there's no need at this time to go forward" with emergency
legislation, King said. "Obviously we have to hold it in reserve and see what happens."
Another critic, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said DP World's willingness to submit to the new review was "certainly a significant step forward, but the devil is in the details." Schumer said Congress should have a chance after the review to approve or reject the administration's decision.
"If the report is completed and kept secret and only given to the president, who has already come out for the deal, it will not reassure Americans," Schumer said.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., presented the outlines of a proposal to the company and the administration late Friday. All parties, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office, held talks through the weekend.
Critics of the deal have cited the UAE's history
as an operational and financial base for the hijackers who attacked New York
in September 2001. The U.S. government
also questioned the UAE years ago about possible ties between officials there and Osama bin Laden, according to the report by the independent commission that investigated the suicide hijackings. Critics also have complained that the UAE was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban government in Afghanistan before the U.S. overthrow in 2001.
Critics have questioned why the deal received the administration's blessing when two of the hijackers involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks came from the UAE, and much of the money
for the plot was funneled through Dubai, a major Persian Gulf banking center.
The UAE, however, is also a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, a frequent stop for U.S. warships and aircraft, and a supply depot for U.S. troops in Iraq.
Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," defended that Bush and other officials were not alerted earlier to the potential implications of such a deal.
"These deals go through and are reviewed all the time. There have been 65 last year. Rarely, do they make it to the president," she said. "I take actually comfort in the fact that it was reviewed by experts across the government, in the agencies that have a concern, and those concerns were addressed. So it didn't need to rise up to that level."
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is led by the Treasury Department and includes representatives of the Defense, State and Commerce departments.
The deal initially was scheduled to close Thursday. DP World said it will proceed with the $6.85 billion acquisition as planned but will "voluntarily separate out the U.S. assets that would otherwise be part of the deal" to allow time for the review.
In addition to commitments previously made to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, DP World has pledged its North American port operations will be "a completely separate business unit"; that it will not exercise control over the management of U.S. operations; and that the chief security officer for P&O's North American operations will remain a U.S. citizen, unless the U.S. Coast Guard -- which oversees security at American ports -- agrees otherwise.