From the AP:
“After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward,” Bush told reporters who had traveled with him on Air Force One to Washington. “I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, `We’ll treat you fairly.'”
Bush took the rare step of calling reporters to his conference room on the plane after returning from a speech in Colorado, addressing a controversy that is becoming a major headache for the White House. He said the seaports arrangement had been extensively examined by the administration and was “a legitimate deal that will not jeopardize the security of the country.”
I find this development highly disturbing.
In five years, President Bush has not vetoed a single bill. Not a spending bill authorizing a several-hundred million dollar Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska. Not one. Not anything.
Now he threatens to protect a deal with a company OWNED BY the United Arab Emirates, a known haven of terrorists? This is not the time to play nice with our allies in Arab countries that support the War on Terror. I fully understand the political consequences of halting a sale to an ally that is providing active assistance in our terrorism fight. I don’t understand why the White House doesn’t understand the political consequences of appearing to give an opening to those who want to kill us.
I can imagine a scenario in which Al Qaeda operatives gain access to the country through this company. There may well be safeguards in place to prevent it, but the White House has not explained what they are. The White House has not explained why this is a good deal for national security. The White House has not explained why it will NOT be possible for a terrorist to use this company as a gateway to operating against us. And until they do, I think the President has a serious problem.
Really, the President’s going to go to the mattresses over protecting a company from the Mideast when he won’t secure our borders or veto outrageous spending bills? Is this a joke?
UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt interviewed Senator Frist today on Hugh’s radio show, and indicated an override of the promised veto is possible. This is a potentially embarrassing and damaging development for the President, and he needs to get on the right side of this issue in a hurry. Based on this story, it doesn’t seem likely. Duane has a transcript of Hugh’s interview here.