Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

Mr. Speaker, in the world we live in today, there is nothing more important than American security. This is one reason I was surprised to learn there is a plan to let a foreign government, through its government-controlled company, run major ports throughout our country, including part of the port of Beaumont in my district in southeast Texas.

We hear that the UAE ports deal will not jeopardize national security because this government company will actually help us with homeland security. My question is: Are we now going to outsource national security as well?

The recent disturbing decision to allow the United Arab Emirates to have a stake in operations in U.S. ports is a dangerous decision that defies common sense.

History has shown that friends of the United States come and go. Those who are our friends today may not be our friends tomorrow. The UAE, although alleged friends today, have not been our friends in the past; and there is nothing that proves that they will continue that friendship in the future.

The UAE recognized the Taliban. It laundered money that financed the 9/11 terrorists, and it continues to participate in the Arab boycott against our ally, Israel. This country harbored terrorists that played a role in killing 3,000 people on September 11. We cannot ignore their perilous past.

Mr. Speaker, last time I checked, we were at war against the Taliban. I find it extremely hard to believe that we would want to give a country that supported our enemies access to our ports. If this deal were to go through, these same foreign entities would have access to U.S. manifests showing what cargo is being shipped and where and when it is going. According to a recent Zogby poll taken in October 2005, it found that over 70 percent of those who live in the UAE do not even like the United States. If this arrangement goes through, who is going to stop a potential terrorist from posing as someone else, going to work for one of these ports, and gaining access to information with the intent to harm Americans? We do not need to take this risk with national security.

Currently, only 5 percent of the more than 14 million containers entering through our Nation's ports are screened. Clearly, our ports are already vulnerable. In a day and age where we are allowing 95 percent of the cargo to come and go through our ports without inspection, it is hard to believe that we are willing to give security to a foreign entity, much less one that has anything but a strong record in preventing terrorism. Even the U.S. Coast Guard, which is in charge of port security, seems uneasy about letting this take place.

Many Americans across our land are opposed to this foreign operation in our homeland. The port of Beaumont in Texas, one of the operations proposed to be run by this UAE deal, ships one-third of the military cargo going to Iraq and Afghanistan. This is more than any other U.S. port. Now we want to give a foreign government access to U.S. military shipping information? I think not.

We cannot allowed our ports to be infiltrated by foreign governments. And this is not a partisan issue; it is an issue of national security. For this reason, I have joined colleagues from across the aisle in introducing a bill that will stop this UAE operation from going through. I have joined the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Wasserman Schultz) in introducing legislation to prevent this dangerous and deceptive deal. This deal should become a ``no deal'' before it becomes an ordeal.

Mr. Speaker, just last week we introduced the Port Security Act of 2006. This is the House version of legislation already introduced in the Senate. This bipartisan legislation will prohibit foreign state-owned companies from controlling operations at U.S. ports and stop the UAE deal by mandating a congressional review of existing foreign state-owned companies that are operating in American ports. There is an innate