February 22, 2006

Wyden, Dorgan Urge President to BlockDubai Ports World Company From Taking Control of U.S. Ports

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today sent the following letter to the White House urging the President to block immediately the Dubai Ports World company from taking a controlling interest in the operations of a number of U.S. ports. Wyden, who sent the letter along with U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), also requested that the Administration make publicly available all documents that led to the Administrations decision to approve of the sale of port security contracts to a United Arab Emirates-based corporation. Wyden and Dorgan have worked together on a number of government accountability and transparency in government issues. The text of the letter follows:****************************************************************************************Dear Mr. President:We are writing to urge you to take immediate action to block Dubai Ports World from acquiring a controlling interest in the operation of major ports of entry in the United States. We also request that you make public all of the documents that led to the Administrations decision to approve this sale.The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is headed by Treasury Department Secretary John Snow, recently approved Dubai Port Worlds purchase of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, a British firm that operates several major U.S. ports. CFIUSs decision to approve this acquisition raises serious national security concerns as well as questions about the judgment of those tasked with safeguarding this country.Your chief of Homeland Security says we have to balance the paramount urgency of security against the fact that we still want to have a robust global trading system. This statement would be laughable if the repercussions of CFIUSs action were not so serious.Dubai Ports World is owned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - a country with historical ties to terrorist activities. Among other things, UAE is the home of two of the 9-11 terrorists and its banking system was used to help finance those devastating attacks. UAE interests have provided financial and other support to the Taliban and al Qaeda. UAE has also been a virtual way station for those trafficking nuclear components to countries like Iran and North Korea who are believed to be assembling nuclear weapons.Mr. President, if there ever was a better case for you to exercise your authority to suspend or prohibit a foreign acquisition posing a threat to our national security, we have not seen it. And we urge you to do so.In addition, we believe the American public deserves to know how a decision like this could be made in the first place. The decision to approve this sale was not made by a panel of unknown bureaucrats. It reflects the decision making of the Treasury Secretary and the heads of other federal agencies. That is why we ask you to take immediate steps to make available all of the documents that led to this ill-advised approval.Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.Sincerely,Ron WydenByron Dorgan