Lieberman rushes to Bush's defense over port deal
Two words: Ned Lamont. If anyone questions why Joe has to go, forward this article to them.
Legislators from both parties continued today to sharply criticize the Bush administration's approval of a recent sale that would give a Dubai company control over shipping facilities at six leading American ports, saying that it raised fundamental security issues.Taking a quote from Ned Lamont, "where's Joe?"
A range of Democrats criticized the port takeover in stinging terms, implying that it showed poor judgment by an administration that has made national security its top priority. They said security at American ports — where only 5 percent of incoming cargo is inspected — is one of the country's biggest vulnerabilities.
Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who last week had asked Mr. Chertoff and the Treasury Department to review the sale, called President Bush today to override the committee's approval. Appearing at a news conference with family members of people killed on Sept. 11, he called for a 90-day investigation into all contracts with foreign governments at American ports.
Several Republicans also expressed doubts about a transaction that appears to pit security concerns against the Bush administration's strong support for free world trade.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said the administration's approval of the transaction was "unbelievably tone-deaf politically." He told Fox News, "I don't think now's the time to outsource major port security to a foreign country."
Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, called it "ridiculous" for the administration to say it had taken undisclosed steps to ensure there was no problem "for a nation that had ties to 9/11 to take over part of our port operations in many of our largest ports."
Representative Jane Harman of California, ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said of the transaction, "I think it's stunning and I'm very disturbed about it."
Ms. Harman, whose district encompasses the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, told CNN, "I would not like Dubai or some other foreign government running those ports."
She urged the administration to provide Congress with classified briefings on the port takeover.
Several other Democrats questioned the deal earlier, including Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey.
"It's suspicious on its face," said Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, a member of the intelligence committee. "But is it the right decision? It's difficult to say."
Another Republican, Representative Frank A. LoBiondo of New Jersey, has called for legislation to require that United States port security officials be American citizens. Mr. LoBiondo, chairman of the Coast Guard and maritime transportation subcommittee, part of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the sale raised "significant" security concerns.
And two Pennsylvania legislators wrote President Bush on Friday to express "extreme concern" about the transaction. Representative Curt Weldon, a Republican, and Robert Brady, a Democrat, urged Bush to "closely examine this decision, and to act to prevent its implementation."
One of the few legislators to come close to defending the transaction was Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, who is considered a security hawk among Democrats.Lieberman is insane. The President is handing over soem of the nation's largest ports to a country that has ties to terrorism and shameless Joe doesn't see the problem with this?
He told ABC News that he was "not yet" prepared to try to block the sale. He noted that many port terminals in the United States are foreign-owned.
Enough is enough. Joe has to go.
Lieberman: bad for Connecticut, bad for the Democratic party, bad for this country.