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Monday, March 20, 2006

Schumer's Office Misled Reporters on Ports Security Experts

Not only did Sen. Chuck Schumer stir up the political firestorm against DP World at the behest of Eller & Co, but Schumer’s staff sent reporters on a wild goose chase for experts to back up his claims.

According to “Dubai or Not Dubai: Chuck on Killed Deal”, by Ben Smith and published by the New York Observer, Joe Muldoon III, a lobbyist for Eller & Co, “put together a white paper arguing that the deal could compromise US security”. In LATE JANUARY, a copy of the white paper was given to Schumer aide, Josh Vlasto. When Ted Bridis from the Associated Press contacted his office on Feb. 10, Schumer conveyed a “cautious, critical note.”

Adam Davidson of National Public Radio was unable to find any port-security experts that agreed with Schumer’s assertion about the negative impact of DP World on port security. Schumer’s office provided Davidson with names of two experts who they said agreed with the security threat theory. Davidson contacted both experts and both stated that there was NO security threat. Risa Heller, Schumer’s press secretary, stated they thought the two experts agreed with Schumer’s security concerns.

Meanwhile, Schumer “pressed the Senate to vote on the issue immediately before the White House could tamp down the furor.” The next day, DP World agreed to turn the US ports over to a US entity.

How does Schumer feel about the results of the ports deal? He stated “This gives Democrats a window that opens on other security issues.”

So let's review - no experts could be produced by Schumer that agreed with the security threat posed by DP World. Schumer knew about the ports deal in late January. Plus he viewed the uproar as a political antidote to the Democrats' lack of national security history. Despite this, the Republicans in Congress claim 'victory'.

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