CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight - Transcript
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DOBBS: Dubai Ports tonight hopes Congress will cave in, comply now that it's agreed to delay its U.S. port takeover. Congressman Pete King is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He joins us and says he will not ease up on the Dubai Ports issue one bit, even with this delaying tactic, as he sees it.
What is -- what is it going to be, the direction you think we'll take there as a nation? Is it not simply Dubai?
REP. PETE KING (R), NEW YORK: First we have to deal with Dubai. It has to be a full investigation.
My concern is that with this cooling-off period, some of the energy or some of the drive that's in this issue may dissipate, and then at that stage, they'll try to ram this deal through. That's why I say we have to have a full investigation, and not allow any further action until the investigation is completed.
As far as the future, I think we very much have to look into the whole question of, I believe, providing incentives for American companies to be able to do the work at our vital infrastructure, including ports, including bridges, including tunnels, and including, you know, telecommunications, the whole gamut, which now becomes subjected to possible terrorist attack.
DOBBS: You're talking about some loss of energy here. Senators Menendez, Clinton and Schumer have made it clear there won't be any diminishment at all of their energy going forward. Are we going to see the issue of national security at our ports break along partisan lines and see the Congress, even though insulted by the president's veto threat and the tone -- the patronizing tone he took, frankly, with the Congress, are we going to see you all sort of fall in line here on the Republican side and the Democrats move forward on a national security issue? Which this clearly is.
KING: Yes. I certainly hope not. I don't see this as a partisan issue at all. To me, it's an American issue.
I'm just saying, human nature being what it is, sometimes once the pressure is released it's hard to get the energy level back again. So that's why I am making it as clear as I can that, while I welcome the delay, there has to be than just delay. There has to be a full investigation, because once the investigation starts, then that sets, you know, something in motion that can't be stopped.
And then once the investigation is concluded, then we'll have facts to work from. If we're just talking about waiting and waiting, then that's when something can sneak through.
DOBBS: Do you and other Republicans want to go into the November elections having approved a deal in which a foreign government is owned -- a company is taking ownership of operating contracts at terminals in six of our major ports? KING: Lou, I don't want to sound holier than thou. I am really not thinking of the elections. I have lost too many friends and neighbors and constituents on September 11 even to be thinking about the elections.
Having said that, it certainly to me is not going to help us politically, and it shouldn't, because, you know, we have said we are the party of homeland security. We are the ones who can wage this war against terrorism. And certainly, unless there's an absolutely clean bill of health, which I think is going to be hard to find, to me, it's going to be hard to justify this contract. But I don't want to prejudge it.
DOBBS: But it's Karl Rove and this White House that's made it clear that the war on terror will be the focal point of the Republican Party as it seeks to retain its leadership in the House and the Senate. I'm not injecting politics. Karl Rove, this White House is.
Do you want to go into this election in November having decided to turn over critical infrastructure assets to a company owned by a foreign government?
KING: No. But having said that, if this investigation -- and I'm not prejudging anything -- turns out that this company is entirely clean, we will have to decide then how are we going to deal with foreign companies coming in. Because right now there's no American company to do the ports.
That's my concern. If there was an American company standing by, I would say yes.
DOBBS: Congressman Pete King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, thank you.
KING: Lou, thank you.
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