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White House Defends Controversial Port Deal


The White House is defending the planned sale of shipping operations at key U.S. ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Wednesday all national security concerns related to the deal were carefully reviewed. Republicans and Democrats voiced opposition to the plan over security concerns.

The deal would put UAE-owned Dubai Ports World in charge of most shipping operations in six cities including New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

McClellan said the UAE company should not be held to a different standard than the British company that currently runs those shipping operations.

Republicans have urged the administration to delay the sale or face possible legislation designed to block it. President Bush said Tuesday he would veto any legislation that seeks to cancel the deal.

McClellan said members of Congress should have been informed of the deal sooner -- but are now being briefed on it.

Democratic Senator John Kerry has called for Treasury Secretary John Snow to release all information relating to contacts between administration officials and Dubai Ports World.

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