It turn out that the U.S. government was going to get a lot in exchange for the Dubai ports deal. That is the only explanation that ever made sense given the political capital that the Bush administration expended at the time. And all for naught because some conservative yahoos with amplified voices wanted to play armchair national security advisors.
As reported by Bill Gertz in the Washington Times, the United States was planning to set up a CIA spy ring inside some of the most terrorist-friendly ports in the world. That was the real deal with the UAE.
Former Inside the Ring co-author Rowan Scarborough has written a new book revealing a key reason the Bush administration pressed hard for the 2006 deal for the United Arab Emirates-based Dubai Ports World to take over management of several U.S. ports.
According to Mr. Scarborough, the administration wanted the deal to go through because the UAE government had agreed to let the United States post agents inside its global port network who could report on world shipping.
Dubai Ports currently runs port facilities at key U.S. intelligence targets, including Venezuela, China, Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia.
“Dubai Ports, in essence, was going to become an agent of CIA,” Mr. Scarborough said in an interview. “The arrangement is helping us detect whether any kind of terror contraband was being moved around.”
Now it all makes sense. It explains why President Bush was so strongly behind the deal, and key Senators in-the-know were very reluctant to criticize the deal until the politics of the situation overwhelmed them.
The deal was submarined by chatty fools like Sean Hannity, talk radio generally, and a bunch of bloggers in pajamas. Conservative knee-jerkers appear to have done our national security a great disservice in the War on Terror, and politically damaged the Commander in Chief who is fighting it.
In fairness, the ignorance was not unanimous among the major talk show egotists. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly supported the deal. Sean Hannity was vitriolic in opposing it, as was Michael Savage. I believe that the deal would have gone through with appropriate silence from these latter two jarheads, especially Sean Hannity who provided legitimacy for the wave of self-aggrandized bloggers who decided to write something that week.
Remember this story next time you hear a buffoon with a microphone or a login ID think they understand our national security better than elected officials with access to the intelligence and the facts.