The following is a transcript of the Democrats radio response to President Bush's weekly radio address:
I'm Jon Corzine, Governor of New Jersey.Over the past two weeks, the American people have learned that the British company that handles cargo at six major U.S. ports was being taken over by Dubai Ports World - a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates.There are many reasons why this transaction fails the basic test of common sense with regard to our nation's homeland security.
The UAE was one of only three nations in the world to recognize the Taliban government of Afghanistan when that country was the headquarters of Al Qaeda. Eleven of the hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks traveled to the U.S. through the airport in Dubai. About half of the money used to finance the 9/11 attacks was wired to Al Qaeda terrorists in the U.S. from banks in Dubai. And Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan has acknowledged working with a Dubai company to supply nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
Dangerous men, tainted blood money and nuclear technology have moved across UAE borders. When Americans expressed concern about turning our ports over to the government of this country, the Bush Administration said they had looked at the transaction, and that the public shouldn't worry.
No Congressional review, no state or local review took place, and no public comment was considered.
Later, we were told that the president didn't know about the sale until after it was approved. For many Americans - regardless of party - this lack of disciplined review is unacceptable. It is the most basic obligation of government to provide for the security of our people.
In the nearly four and a half years since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, we have known that constant vigilance is the price of public safety.
In my home state of New Jersey, families and communities have felt the unending pain and paid the ultimate cost of 9/11.
For them, and for our country, it is a moral imperative to ask the hard questions and assess the risks of the Dubai deal. So on Thursday, at my direction, New Jersey's Attorney General and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey filed lawsuits to halt the Dubai transaction and protect the Port of Newark - which is part of what the FBI calls 'the most vulnerable two miles in America.'
Of the two billion tons of freight that flows into U.S. seaports each year, less than 5 percent of containers are examined on arrival.
Every homeland security expert identifies protecting our nation's ports as one of our greatest unmet security challenges. And for the administration to potentially put us in an even more vulnerable position - and to tell us to simply 'trust them,' that it's going to be okay' - is totally unacceptable.
This White House still believes that decisions made in secret are better than those made in the light of day. Foreign trade is a vital part of our economic life - but there is a critical difference between a foreign-owned company, and a company that's owned by a foreign government--particularly one that governs a country where the U.S. State Department has a travel advisory in place for Americans abroad. There are those who raise false charges of discrimination when we raise genuine concerns about security--who say that no one cared when a British company ran the ports. But Dubai is not Britain--and the fact of the matter is that port security does not begin and end at the pier in Newark.
The cargo shipped here is part of a global supply chain: a container that is loaded in Malaysia or the Philippines and then makes a stop in Dubai is unloaded in Newark or Baltimore, and eventually gets delivered to Cleveland.
So there is more than just cause for concern.
We cannot afford to let this administration be stubborn in their mistakes and casual about our security. Senators Clinton and Menendez have introduced legislation to prohibit companies owned or controlled by foreign governments from buying U.S. port operations.
Others have introduced legislation to delay this transaction so it can be thoroughly reviewed, not rubber-stamped behind closed doors.
These initiatives to protect our country must be pursued despite President Bush's veto threat.
And my state and its Port Authority will exercise all our legal rights to protect our citizens. Our standard is the one set by President Reagan: "Trust, but verify." I have invited the governors of the six other states to join New Jersey in taking legal action to stop this transaction. Under pressure, the Bush Administration has now announced a cooling off period.
But what we need is not a token delay, but a serious review. There is no party line when it comes to keeping our people safe from terrorists both at home and abroad.
And it is a sad day for our nation when we have to go to court and pass legislation to secure the right of the American people to have questions answered and their security protected. America can do better. I'm Governor Jon Corzine.
Thank you for listening.