Monday, March 06, 2006

Bad Deal


Congressional sources said the Defense Department, Homeland Security Department and Coast Guard expressed objections during the review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States of the state-owned Dubai Ports World, which bought the British-owned Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. P&O has managed port operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

"All of the rules were bent on this one," a congressional source said. "We had a major security review managed by political appointees." But most of the objections were not recorded in the proceedings of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the sources said. They said the objections remained off the record for "technical reasons." Later, the heads of some of the agencies denied that their representatives raised concerns.

"I am more convinced than ever that the process was truly flawed," said Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican & chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. "I can only conclude that there was a rush to judgment, that there wasn't the kind of painstaking, thorough analysis that needed to be done, despite serious questions being raised and despite the involvement of a wide variety of agencies."

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