Oh, the tangled web we weave…

Sit down, Shakers. This news may shock you.

The White House had a secret agreement with Dubai Ports World.

The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.
“Other, routine restrictions” like keeping copies of business records on US soil, hence the agreement to cooperate on demand. But what, you might ask, is the point of requiring a company to secretly agree to reveal records on demand, instead of just requiring them, as is usually required, to keep their business records on US soil?

Because if the records are on US soil, they would be subject to court orders. Without records on US soil, a court can’t demand the turnover of records. So what does this mean? Does it mean that Dubai Ports World would only have to relinquish records at the administration’s request? We don’t know, because the agreement is secret.

It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. government requests. Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.
The administration did specify, however, that Dubai Ports World would have to designate “an executive to handle requests from the U.S. government, but it did not specify this person's citizenship.” I can’t help thinking that somewhere between the lines is “someone handpicked by the administration.”

"We're disappointed," [Dubai Port's top American executive, chief operating officer Edward H. Bilkey] told the AP in an interview. "We're going to do our best to persuade them that they jumped the gun. The UAE is a very solid friend, as President Bush has said."
A solid friend to the administration, no doubt. A solid friend to the American people is not so clear.

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