AP misrepresented Rep. Hunter's proposal, obscured objections to ports deal, and failed to note that DPW is state-owned

››› ››› KURT DONALDSON

A March 6 Associated Press article misstated what Rep. Duncan Hunter outlined as the scope of his proposal to ban foreign companies from owning or operating any U.S. installations deemed critical to national security. According to the article, on the March 5 broadcast of ABC's This Week, Hunter said his proposal would "require foreign governments to divest of critical U.S. installations." In fact, Hunter stated that his legislation would require that all "critical infrastructure[s]" in the United States "be operated by Americans and ... be owned by Americans," meaning that the ban would apply to all foreign companies, not only those owned or controlled by foreign governments.

In a March 6 article by reporter Hope Yen, the Associated Press misstated what House Armed Services Committee chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) outlined as the scope of his proposal to ban foreign companies from owning or operating any U.S. installation deemed critical to national security. Yen wrote that, on the March 5 broadcast of ABC's This Week, Hunter said his proposal would "require foreign governments to divest of critical U.S. installations." In fact, Hunter stated that his legislation would require that all "critical infrastructure[s]" in the United States "have to be operated by Americans and have to be owned by Americans," meaning that the ban would apply to all foreign companies, not only those owned or controlled by foreign governments. In a March 3 article, The New York Times similarly reported that Hunter's proposal would apply only to foreign governments, even though Hunter had already said it would apply to "[a]ny foreign companies that own critical infrastructure," as Media Matters for America has noted.

Yen also obscured an objection, articulated by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on This Week, to the proposed deal that would let Dubai Ports World (DPW) -- a company owned by the government of Dubai, a member state of the United Arab Emirates -- operate port terminals in six major cities: that the Bush administration, in approving the deal, apparently flouted the law requiring the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) to conduct a 45-day investigation of any deal that involves a foreign government and could affect national security. Yen noted Collins's assessment that "we need to scrap the committee, start again," but neglected to mention that the principal reason Collins reached that conclusion was apparently because of her determination that "the 45-day investigation that was clearly required by law was not conducted." In fact, Yen failed to even note the basic fact that Dubai Ports World is a state-owned company, referring to it only as a "company" and a "firm."

From the March 5 broadcast of ABC's This Week:

HUNTER: No, George [Stephanopoulos, host], my bill would require divestiture after the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security undertake a review and come up with a list of what they consider -- not myself, not members of Congress -- but what the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security consider to be critical infrastructure for this country, so it might be not only ports, but power plants and other types of infrastructure. Once they put that list together, just like our maritime security program, which we've deemed to be important enough, that's our ships that we use in the vital operations in times of war, have to be operated by Americans and have to be owned by Americans.

[...]

COLLINS: We don't know enough yet to know whether the deal should go through. The problem is that the 45-day investigation that was clearly required by law was not conducted. The other problem is that the committee that conducts the view is weighed towards the Treasury Department.

From Yen's March 6 AP article:

The problem is "the committee that conducts the review is weighed toward the Treasury Department," said Collins, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

"I think we need to scrap the committee, start again, constitute it within the Department of Homeland Security," said Collins, adding that the panel should include a member of the intelligence committee. "The process now is deeply flawed."

Also critical was Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He said he wanted to scuttle the Dubai deal and then require foreign governments to divest from critical U.S. installations unless they pass a review by the departments of defense and homeland security.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Terrorism
Network/Outlet
Associated Press
Stories/Interests
Duncan Hunter, 2008 Elections
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