CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight - Transcript
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
DOBBS: The Dubai ports deal exposed dangerous shortcomings in how our government reviews foreign purchases of critical American infrastructure assets. A defense contractor in Congressman John Barrow's district is about to be sold to a Dubai government-owned company. He learned about it in a newspaper report. That led him to sponsor the Protect America First Act.
Congressman John Barrow joins me here Washington now. Good to have you with us, Congressman.
REP. JOHN BARROW (D), GEORGIA: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: The company is Doncasters. They manufacturer critical elements for defense. It's -- and you found out about it in a newspaper report?
BARROW: Well, I found out about it the way we all found about it, reading about it in the paper. The thing that's most significant about both these Dubai deals is that they're not isolated incidents.
The only thing that's isolated about these episodes is our finding out about them, because as we now know, we've had some 1,500 deals that have been submitting for approval for foreign purchasers to buy assets that have national security implication ever since the responsibility of overseeing this was given to the CFIUS, the Committee on Investment of -- for Foreign Investment in the United States, way back in 1988.
And this is the first time we've ever heard about any of these, except the one instance when one deal was blocked way back in 1990. So this shines a light on a problem. We're not really aware what's going on.
DOBBS: It's -- there's great frustration I know in Congress because of this. There are great calls for first improving port security, national security, imagine that, because until recently, this Congress has been looking at -- just as the administration has, I think it's fair to say, it's almost every day like a business deal. There's suddenly in an awakening because of Dubai Ports World to, hey, this is a sovereign nation that does have some responsibilities, right?
BARROW: I'll say. You know, we've almost got mentality here like in that old musical "Li'l Abner." What is good for General Bullmoose is good for the USA. It's almost gotten to the point where some folks think that what is good for the UAE is good for the USA, but I think what is good for the USA is what's good for the USA.
And, you know, the number one responsibility for the national sovereignty is to make sure that you can defend yourself. That's the birthright of every free people.
DOBBS: Let's talk about Protect America First legislation that you've introduced. What will it accomplish?
BARROW: Well, it will do two things, basically. First what it's going to do, is it's going to provide some much-needed Congressional oversight. It's going to put Congress on the spot by making sure that the appropriate members of Congress know what's going on when it's going on.
The most amazing thing about this is out of 1,500 deals that have been submitted from approval, Congress has only been notified about the one deal that was blocked back in 1990. That's a very flawed process when you don't know how many deals are being approved and how many are not being approved. Congress will be in the loop on this one because the appropriate members are required to be notified when the applications are submitted for review.
DOBBS: Moving CFIUS from, as it is now chaired by the secretary of the Department of Treasury, John Snow -- moving it over to Homeland Security, you're pretty confident that that's a good idea?
BARROW: Well, that's second major thrust of my bill, is to move it out the department that's not suited for it into a department that has the primary responsibility for protecting our national security.
I know that Homeland Security's got problems. We all know that. But you don't fix what's broke with Homeland Security by leaving a process that's totally broken in the hands of folks who don't have that as their number one responsibility.
DOBBS: Are you confident that, through your legislation, other bills that have been introduced that we're going to see a real improvement in national security, specifically port security, border security, as a result of what hopefully we've all learned from the Dubai Ports World deal?
BARROW: Well, I hope so. You know, our national defense shouldn't be outsourced. Eisenhower warned us a long time ago about beware the military industrial complex. If he were alive today, he'd say beware the process of gradually outsourcing your military industrial complex. We can't afford not to look into this and be aware of what's going on. DOBBS: Congressman John Barrow, thanks for being here.
BARROW: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: Appreciate it.
Just ahead, we're going to be taking a look at more of your thoughts on these issues and a great deal more.
And a proposal to use your money to bring -- well, you remember those guest worker proposals? Well, taxpayer money provide incentives to those who hire the guest workers on top of everything else. Stay with us. It just gets better and better.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT