Port Deal To Have Broader Review
Dubai Firm Sought U.S. Security Probe
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 27, 2006; A01
The Bush administration said yesterday that it has accepted a proposal from a Dubai maritime company to conduct a 45-day review of the national security implications of the company's plans to take control of significant operations at six U.S. ports.
The announcement by Dubai Ports World, brokered by the White House and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), appears to satisfy the demands of many members of Congress, who had threatened to force a security review if the administration would not conduct one. The deal also offered pledges to reassure the United States that the ports deal would not pose any threats to American safety and security.
The administration had approved DP World's $6.85 billion purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P&O) earlier this month without conducting a security review, after a broad interagency panel that looked at the transaction concluded the takeover of port operations in the United States would not affect the nation's safety.
But last week, members of both political parties erupted in furor, questioning the administration's judgment and promising to delay the deal, if not scuttle it. After President Bush vowed to veto any legislation that would thwart the Dubai company's plans, the most public clash between the Republican Congress and the Bush White House seemed in the offing. But yesterday's announcement may have headed off any showdown.