In a press briefing today, Secretary Rumsfeld revealed that he was not consulted about the decision to transfer operations of six key U.S. ports to the United Arab Emirates, a country with troubling ties to international terrorism.
QUESTION: Are you confident that any problems with security — from what you know, are you confident that any problems with security would not be greater with a UAE company running this than an American company?
RUMSFELD: I am reluctant to make judgments based on the minimal amount of information I have because I just heard about this over the weekend.
Rumsfeld’s statement was particularly troubling because Dubai Ports World, owned and operated by the UAE government, will also take over a major contract managing the movement of military equipment for the U.S. Army. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace, who was at the briefing, also said he found out about the deal over the weekend. The deal was approved on February 13.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan claimed the Defense Department was part of “a rigorous review…for national security concerns.” If so, why were two of the Department’s top officials not even informed, much less consulted?
UPDATE: Donald Rumsfeld, as Secretary of Defense, is a member of Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States. As such, he was one of the people who, according to the Treasury Department, unanimously approved the sale on February 13. How could do that when he didn’t even find out about the sale until last weekend?