Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Port Authority

In an earlier post, I posited that the White House probably couldn't care less about defending the port operations contract, awarded to Dubai Ports World; that it served more as a media distraction from other, far more serious problems. They will appear to defend the ludicrous action, to a point. This still may be entirely true. What can be expected, and as was seen with the threatened veto on the McCain torture amendment, is that the White House will "reason" with key congress members who may or may not be persuaded. Ultimately, it won't matter because the contract itself is not the real issue. The contract is merely one of the many White House tools of distraction.

But it now looks like there is an actual reason -- connection -- that explains why DPW was the choosen one. And, wouldn't you know it, two administration officials have connections to the company:
[Treasury Secretary John] 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 was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.
While these connections may or may not compel the White House to defend the deal -- and I still would wait to see how far that goes -- it at least speaks about the provenance of the deal. And, as always with the administration, it comes down to connections and cronies.


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