WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Thursday defended his administration's decision to allow a company from an Arab country to operate six major U.S. ports, saying, "People don't need to worry about security."
"This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America," Bush told reporters during a Cabinet meeting.
It's not just an company from an Arab country. It is a company owned by the state. That puts a foreign government in charge of our ports. That is simply beyond outrageous.
Critics of the deal have raised concerns about the company's status as a state-owned venture, accusing the UAE of having ties to terrorism. Two of the hijackers involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks came from the Persian Gulf country, and most of the money for the plot was funneled through the banking center of Dubai.
Critics also note that Dubai was a key transfer point for illicit nuclear technology sales to North Korea, Iran and Libya that were led by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan.
"At a time when we're faced with this terror threat, we should not be surrendering any port to any foreign government, let alone the UAE," said Baltimore, Maryland, Mayor Martin O'Malley, whose city is one of the ports involved in the deal.
And now look at a comment I found on AMERICAblog:
It's funny that now Bush says "people don't need to worry about security" - after fearmongering us to death for the last 5 years!
That's right. Which is it, Mr. President? Are you telling us to be afraid, be very afraid? Or that we don't need to be? And to think, you called Kerry a flip-flopper.