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Kerry demands disclosure of contacts with firm on port deal

RAW STORY
Published: February 22, 2006

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Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) sent a letter to Secretary John Snow, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) asking him to release all information relating to contacts between Administration officials and Dubai Ports World (DP), RAW STORY has learned.

The Massachusetts senator is demanding the Administration disclose details on the events leading up to the deal proposed by the Bush administration to have the United Arab Emirates-based company run operations at six major U.S. ports.

Kerry's letter follows.

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February 21, 2006

The Honorable John Snow
Chair
Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States
Office of International Investment
Department of Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Room 4201 NY
Washington, DC 20220

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I write to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) regarding the review and approval of the sale of Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Navigation Company to Dubai Ports World (DP). As you know, this sale would give DP, a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, significant operational control over six major US ports.

Specifically, given the national security implications of this sale, I am concerned about the process by which this transaction was approved by CFIUS. First, it appears that CFIUS approved the sale as expeditiously as possible, without even using the additional 45 day investigation process that was clearly warranted under the circumstances.

Further, several media reports have cited ties between Administration officials and DP that raise questions about the basis for the approval of this sale by CFIUS. As you know, the CSX rail corporation, where you previously served as Chief Executive Officer, sold its port operations to DP in 2004. Moreover, the Presidentís nominee for Administrator of the Maritime Administration, David Sanborn, was DPís Head of Operations for Latin America while this transaction was being reviewed by CFIUS. In light of these connections, Congress needs to learn more about the relationship between CFIUS members and DP, and whether Administration officials could have unduly influenced CFIUSís approval process.

Therefore, in the interest of full disclosure and the transparency appropriate under these circumstances, I request that you provide to the relevant committees in Congress all documentation and information relating to contacts between Administration officials, CFIUS members and staff, and DP, including any lobbyists or registered foreign agents working on behalf of DP.

Given the national security implications surrounding this transaction, it is essential that lawmakers have access to this information so that Congress can conduct meaningful oversight.

Sincerely,

John F. Kerry



 


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