Lawmakers Uneasy About Port Operations

Several members of Congress have formally asked the Bush administration to reconsider its approval of a sale giving Dubai Ports World, a company in the United Arab Emirates, control over major port operations at Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia. The lawmakers criticized the UAE as inconsistent in its support of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts and said the UAE was also a transfer point for shipments of nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya. UAE is also one of only three nations that had recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan's legitimate government. "Outsourcing the operations of our largest ports to a country with a dubious record on terrorism is a homeland security and commerce accident waiting to happen," said Sen. Charles Schumer, (D-NY). "The administration needs to take another look at this deal." The Bush administration defended its approval of the shift, noting that security implications were vigorously reviewed. Some members of Congress want the administration to reconsider its approval of DP World's purchase of the London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., which British shareholders approved Monday. The British firm, the world's fourth-largest ports company, runs commercial operations at the U.S. shipping terminals and other ports.