Georgia Senator Chambliss on the Port Takeover

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006 11:09 am by Neal

(UPDATE: Read No More Business as Usual from Michelle Malkin for a summary of why the skepticism over this “deal” is justified. There’s a lot more to this story than is being reported in the MSM. I, for one, am shocked to find out that I actually wrote letters to my Senators expressing concern over this deal before Secretary of Defense Rumsfield was even aware of this situation! That is not encouraging and suggests that this was hastily approved and not properly evaluated.)

Last week I wrote letters to my Georgia Senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson which I posted in “Oppose the UAE Port takeover!”. I never received a reply, so yesterday I followed up with my dear Senators with this letter:

Dear Senator Chambliss/Isakson,

I wrote you last week expressing concern over the approval to sell operations of six, eastern-US ports to a UAE state-controlled company. In my letter, I urged you to work with Senator Coburn to take a second look at this deal, but I never received a response from you or your office.

I would really appreciate a reply on where you stand on this important issue of National Security. In the last week, this topic has gotten a lot of press, and my readers are anxious to know where their Georgia Senators stand. I would like to tell them that you and Senator Isakson/Chambliss are at least concerned and investigating this potentially troubling transfer of control. I still maintain that this is a horrendous decision that will negatively impact the security of the United States.

The response? Crickets, chirping. So, fellow Georgians who want to know where their Senators stand may want to contact them using the links above. I hope you have more luck than I’ve had. If you do hear back from them, e-mail me at “” and let me know what they say. Senator Chambliss did give an interview to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in which the following exchange occurred:

BLITZER: You heard him defend the Bush administration’s decision, Senator, to outsource, in effect, port handling at six major ports in the United States to a company based in the United Arab Emirates and part owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates. Are you comfortable with that decision?

CHAMBLISS: I would have to say at this point in time, Wolf, I’m not. You know, Congress does not have a direct oversight of decisions like this, but frankly, in a post-9/11 world we should be consulted in a very deliberate manner on this.

And certainly there are classified issues that have to be dealt with, but Jane [Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman from California — editor] and I deal with those classified matters on a daily basis. So, I think that Congress is due some explanation about this. It’s suspicious on its face, but is it the right decision? It’s difficult to say. I have confidence in the administration, but I just think Congress should be consulted.

For the latest on the Port takeover, check out today’s coverage by Neal Boortz, powerlineblog, and this article by Michelle Malkin.

It is worth noting that we at are not in complete agreement on whether this transfer of control of these ports to the UAE is necessarily a bad thing that will seriously jeapordize our national security, or whether the opposition to this is strictly political. It’s a tough call. On the one hand, I trust President Bush with our national security more than any current politician despite serious misgivings over his immigration and border policy. On the other hand, this deal doesn’t pass the smell test. And, when a cretin like Jimmy Carter endorses the deal, you have to wonder what is going on. As for the Democrats like Evan Bayh, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, etc. who are jumping on the bandwagon opposing this transfer to the UAE, well, that is nothing more than political opportunism. Read Malkin’s article above on the hypocrisy of these politicians with respect to national security.

However, they are correctly reading the tea leaves. Everyone knows that our ports are grossly insecure, that less than two percent of all foreign containers are screened, and that the most likely way terrorists will smuggle a nuke into this country is in a container ship. Given this reality and the many questions concerning the UAE’s complicity in 9/11, al Qaeda, and terrorist funding, this deal should be dead in the water.

The fact that President Bush is hinting that this will be his first veto is confounding. As the Marines would say, “Mr. President, why are you choosing to die on that hill?”

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