In ordinary cases of foreign direct investment the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) first conducts a 30-day “review” of the transaction. After the review, the committee makes a judgment as to whether a 45-day “investigation” is necessary to address national security concerns.
The law, however, was amended in 1993. That amendment makes the 45-day investigation mandatory in cases like the Dubai World Ports transfer. From the CFIUS website:
The Dubai World Ports purchase triggers the automatic investigation. First, the company is “controlled” by a foreign government. Second, it’s undeniable that port operations “could affect the national security of the United States.”
Yet, the investigation never happened. Bush administration officials “could not say why a 45-day investigation did not occur.”