Dubai Port Company Has Bush Administration Ties

Michael McAuliff of the New York Daily News authors a piece with the provocative headline, “Dubai company set to run U.S. ports has ties to administration.”

The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six U.S. ports has at least two ties to the White House.

One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose department heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World – giving it control of Manhattan’s cruise ship terminal and Newark’s container port. Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush’s cabinet.

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World’s European and Latin American operations and who was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.

The ties raised more concerns about the decision to give port control to a company owned by a nation linked to the Sept. 11 hijackers. “The more you look at this deal, the more the deal is called into question,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who said the deal was rubber-stamped in advance – even before DP World formally agreed to buy London’s P&O port company.

These “ties” are rather tenuous, to say the least. Given the nature of multi-national conglomerates, it would be odd indeed if senior administration officials did not have “ties” of this order.

I especially love the Snow “tie.” The conglomerate of which he was chairman sold something the year after he left to another conglomerate? I suspect there are “ties” that close to Kevin Bacon.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jonk says:

    I don’t like the idea because I feel our own infrastructure should be controlled by us.

    Iran and Iraq were once our pretty good friends too, if anyone remembers.

    This is a huge mistake, and ties directly into my previous posts about our container ports being a serious problem.

  2. cirby says:

    Let’s see who else has closer ties to DB Ports:

    HJ Heinz: what politician has ties to this company? They seem to do a lot of business in Dubai (enough to be mentioned on the DB Ports Authority website).

  3. anjin-san says:

    Jeeze do we need any more proof that homeland security is a joke?

  4. John Burgess says:

    Jonk, Iran was our friend until 1979. Iraq never was; at best it was the lesser of two evils during the Iran-Iraq War. Ever since the Iraqi royal family got overthrown back in the 50s, by a commie-looking junta, the US has seen that country with a jaundiced eye.

    On the ports: Since the management of the ports has already been outsourced to the Brits for year, we’re not arguing outsourcing. We’re arguing whether or not the UAE can be trusted as much as other foreigners.

  5. none says:

    Tenuous? How long does it take to arrange a deal of this size, a year maybe? OF course this is legitimate. Isn’t everything this administration does?

    WARNING: This message will self destruct in 30 minutes. Think I’m kidding? Tune in later to verify. Censorship is fun. At least for the right!

    Editor’s note. On topic messages are seldom deleted.

  6. Jonk says:

    I don’t think any infrastructure should be outsourced…period. If it costs more for us to do it, fine…I would rather pay more for imports and feel more secure than the current situation. Every time I pass a container port I cringe.

    (BTW, John, glad to have you aboard here at OTB. I have been reading your blog for a while.)