So what if Obama put a foreign muslim company in charge of America's main port of
entry? WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? Nukes from Iran? PSHAW! Racists!
This may be how the game is played in Washington, but it’s frustrating, especially when you remember a moment of panic that everybody else seems to move on from.
The media and the political establishment went ballistic over the revelation. Nine years later, however, a similar announcement is being met with relative silence.
Last year, the Obama administration formally approved a 35-year contract with Gulftainer to operate out of Florida’s Port Canaveral, a location that’s alarmingly close to a U.S. Air Force base, a submarine base and NASA’s Kennedy Space center. This week, the terminal officially opened.
If you haven’t heard of Gulftainer, you’re not alone. It is a company located in the United Arab Emirates, a confederation of nations that critics have charged is the origin for much funding for terrorist groups.
Since Gulftainer is leasing the port and not purchasing the property, the company reportedly did not have to submit to a national security review.
This may be the norm for how the federal government operates, but it is troubling.
A quick Google search reveals that conservative blogs have suggested the company may have shipped weapons through its ports to terror groups in Iraq and may have help helped Iran ship weapons to Gaza.
Gulftainer has vehemently denied the allegations, but, baseless or not, the suggestions have been acknowledged by Florida Today, a media company owned by Gannet, and have prompted protests at the site of Gulftainer’s terminals.
Making the story all the more interesting is the suggestion from critics that there are lingering ties between Gulftainer’s executive brass and the Clintons and the fact that the deal was ultimately signed off on by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who served within the Clinton White House as chief of staff.
This might be a large stretch, but it is out there.
Whether or not Gulftainer is cause for alarm is beyond my judgment, but there is nevertheless a stunning level of hypocrisy in Washington, D.C., over the issue.
Neither the media nor most lawmakers have opted to discuss this openly, despite media and lawmakers leading the charge against Dubai Ports World and the Bush administration in 2006.
The vitriol surrounding the 2006 controversy was one that had major consequences for Bush. It came shortly after he both failed to receive congressional approval for both his Supreme Court nominee and Social Security reform and, in many ways, seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back and cemented his status at the time as a lame-duck president.
Many of the bipartisan collection of lawmakers who lead the charge on the initial Dubai deal are still politically active today, including a former New York senator who pushed for a 45-day review to look into security concerns.
That senator was Hillary Clinton, and like so many others in Washington, she seems to have forgotten something that was once a very, very big deal.
Where are they now? When are they going to speak about this, and when is the press going to report it, too?
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