And this year’s award for the most misleading headline goes to… the Associated Press.
Check out this headline: Arab Co., White House Had Secret Agreement
That damned secretive White House at it again. First Cheney, now this… Tonight we learn the administration had a “Secret Agreement” with the Arab company they sold the ports to. Or then again, maybe not….
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.
As part of the $6.8 billion purchase, state-owned Dubai Ports World agreed to reveal records on demand about “foreign operational direction” of its business at U.S. ports, the documents said. Those records broadly include details about the design, maintenance or operation of ports and equipment.
The administration did not require Dubai Ports to keep copies of business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to court orders. 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.
“They’re not lax but they’re not draconian,” said James Lewis, a former U.S. official who worked on such agreements. If officials had predicted the firestorm of criticism over the deal, Lewis said, “they might have made them sound harder.”
The conditions involving the sale of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. were detailed in U.S. documents marked “confidential.” Such records are regularly guarded as trade secrets, and it is highly unusual for them to be made public.
They didn’t have a “secret agreement” they had an agreement to keep trade secrets. The difference between the two is about as large as the difference between Billy Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.
The agreement (by the idiot reporter’s own admission) was “routine.” The exact terms of the deal were not made public. Imagine that. Terms of deals like this are never made public. Heck, terms of your average lawsuit in civil court are not made public.
The headline and the writer conspire to make you think the White House had a nefarious deal that the AP exposed when nothing could be further from the truth.
I tell ya, I didn’t support this deal in the beginning but when I see the same people pulling the same stunts, it really makes me want to back Bush on this one.