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“Supposed to have been scruntinized…”

 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

McClellan press briefing today: "this is a deal that is supposed to have been scrutinized" as a national security review process.

WTF? Was it scrutinized, or not? Did you do the work — or NOT?

Let me get this straight: The president is threatening to veto any bill slowing down or limiting a deal that he knew nothing about until recently, and the Board which is legally mandated to scrutinize these sorts of deals is only "supposed to have done so" in this case.

And that the President checked with cabinet officials about this deal — but, apparently, only AFTER public pressure started to build when the press and Congress got wind of the deal. Since, you know, the President didn’t even know about the deal until after it had already been inked.

McClellan also says that they ought to have talked to Congress about this. Ya think?

Did you do the work — or not? At what point should the American people expect the Bush Administration to get off their butts, know what is going on in a matter of national security and actually…you know…do their freaking jobs?

Press briefing is ongoing and being broadcast in full on C-Span2.

UPDATE: McClellan just admitted that Bush learned about this port deal only after a stink started in the press. Because, you know, we have a whole freaking national security and maritime apparatus in the government that he just ignores on a daily basis — but when Fox News barks, he decides to "git r done." Lovely.

UPDATE #2: OMG, Lester Kinsolving just raised the issue of the 9/11 Commission and others talking about hijackers using Dubai as a transit and financing base. I may fall out of my chair. If the WH has lost Lester Kinsolving on this, the wingnut base is seriously frothing.

And McClellan raised the question that those who have problems with the deal ought to explain what their problem is and that these objections have a tinge of racism (or at least implied it, and then backtracked from this). Scott is hoping no one will notice the difference in legal scrutiny standards for the transaction that are required for a state-owned business as opposed to a private company — and that the Administration didn’t follow the law for the state-owned UAE company.

Too bad we already noticed this, isn’t it? Wish the reporters in the press briefing had, though, because there has been no follow-up on that thus far.

UPDATE #3: CNN is reporting that the UAE company involved in this has hired Bob Dole to lobby Congress to calm their outrage over the deal and get things to go through. Gee — how is Liddy Dole going to deal with that conflict along with running the RSCC? Wonder what the folks back home will think?

UPDATE #4: For more on what Republicans in Congress have been doing the last few years to block Democratic initiatives on port security, read here. Many of the loudest Republican voices currently getting airtime on the UAE port issue voted on multiple occasions against stronger port security measures.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com