The operation of some terminals of six U.S. ports by a United Arab Emirates company poses a low threat to the American national security, John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, said Tuesday.
The intelligence community was tasked to scrutinize the proposed takeover of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company by the UAE-based Dubai Ports World last November, and assessed the threat to U.S. national security, Negroponte said at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"On the basis of our inquiry we assess that the threat to U.S. national security posed by DP World to be low," he said.
"We didn't see any red flags come up during the course of our inquiry," said Negroponte.
Under the deal, approved by the Bush administration in January, Dubai Ports World was originally scheduled to take over the operation of some terminals of six U.S. key ports, including New York, Miami and New Orleans, on March 2.
The 6.8 billion-U.S. dollar deal has sparked a debate on port security. Some lawmakers have said they would introduce legislation in Congress to block the deal if a broader review of the deal was not conducted, and President George W. Bush has threatened to veto any bill that seek to derail the transaction.
Dubai Ports World announced late last week it would delay the takeover of the British company's operation of the U.S. ports, and on Monday, it requested the administration to conduct a 45-day security review, in an effort to address the concerns of lawmakers.