Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sen Levin: Bush Admin Ignoring the Law On Port Deal

WASHINGTON - The senior Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee angrily accused the Bush administration Thursday of ignoring the law by refusing to extend an investigation of a United Arab Emirates company's takeover of significant U.S. port operations.

Bush, talking to reporters at the conclusion of a Cabinet meeting earlier Thursday, said that "people don't need to worry about security."

"The more people learn about the transaction that has been scrutinized and approved by my government," Bush said, "the more they'll be comforted that our ports will be secure."

Clashing with a Treasury Department official on a mission to calm a political uproar, Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record) said the law has language specifically requiring a longer review than the one that an interagency committee conducted, if a business deal could affect national security.

"Is there not one agency in this government that believes this takeover could affect the national security of the United States?" the Michigan Democrat asked at a committee briefing. Chairman John Warner, R-Va., in a very unusual procedure on Capitol Hill, allowed reporters to question the administration witnesses.

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