Why aren't the local "Patriots" screaming at Bush on this one? Chertoff says Dubai port deal includes safeguards Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:35 AM ET WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The homeland security chief said on Sunday a deal for a Dubai-based company to manage major U.S. ports would include security safeguards, but a Republican senator urged a probe and called the Bush administration "tone deaf politically" for approving it. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the Bush administration had approved the sale of British firm P&O, which manages six U.S. ports including New York, to Dubai Ports World after a classified review and the deal would include safeguards to protect U.S. national security. "You can be assured that before a deal is approved we put safeguards in place, assurances in place, that make everybody comfortable that we are where we need to be from a national security viewpoint," Chertoff said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." But Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said it was a mistake for the administration to approve the sale and called on Congress to investigate it. "It's unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history, four years after 9/11, to entertain the idea of turning port security over to a company based in the UAE who avows to destroy Israel," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday." "I don't think now is the time to outsource major port security to a foreign-based company," he said. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, said she would support legislation to block foreign companies from buying port facilities. "I'm going to support legislation to say 'No more, No way.' We have to have American companies running our own ports ... Our infrastructure is at risk," she said on CBS's "Face the Nation." Last week, Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Hillary Clinton of New York, both Democrats, said they would offer legislation to ban companies owned or controlled by foreign governments from acquiring U.S. port operations. "No matter what steps the administration claims it has secretly taken, it is an unacceptable risk to turn control of our ports over to a foreign government," Menendez said in a statement. Some in Congress have expressed fears that the UAE was used as a conduit for parts used for nuclear proliferation and that the local banking system had been abused by financiers with possible links to terrorist organizations. The Bush administration, however, considers Dubai and the UAE a solid ally in its campaign against terrorism. The UAE company would control management of major ports in New York and New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Miami. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a U.S. inter-agency panel that reviews security implications of foreign takeovers of strategic assets, reviewed the transaction and did not object. U.S. seaports handle 2 billion tons of freight each year. Only about 5 percent of containers are examined on arrival. The Senate Banking Committee plans to hold a hearing next week to examine concerns about the P&O sale and the U.S. government review process, a panel spokesman said.