Linder, Chambliss comment on ports controversy

Local politicians aren't happy with a deal that allows a United Arab Emirates company to take over operations at six major U.S. ports.

"This is a serious issue, and I am personally very concerned. I believe Congress should be consulted before this particular contract is finalized," said U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie. "Congress and the American people deserve an explanation regarding this issue and how it could affect the national security of the United States."

Last week, politicians, pundits and citizens were alarmed to learn of the contract with the UAE, a country that is a partner in America's war on terror but was the homeland of two Sept. 11 hijackers.

"While the United Arab Emirates is a partner in the global war on terror, the administration should come to Congress immediately to explain why a country that has recognized the Taliban as legitimate should be entrusted with the operation of six U.S. ports that are so crucial to our economy and has the potential for terrorist infiltration," Chambliss said. "Congress needs to know what safeguards are being taken to ensure that this proposal will not provide this foreign company access to information and operations that we would normally want to restrict."

U.S. Rep. John Linder, R-Duluth, said he isn't worried about security at U.S. ports because of precautions by the Department of Homeland Security, but Linder said Congress should have been briefed on the situation.

Also, Linder said, it revealed a communication problem in the Bush administration.

"It probably should have been discussed very publicly," he said. "This has caught everybody by surprise, but I wouldn't be surprised to see (the contract) altered. Somebody should have anticipated this."

Parkview praised

The Georgia House took time out on Tuesday to honor two of the successful sports at Parkview High School.

Lawmakers unanimously passed resolutions commending head football coach Cecil Flowe for his career achievements at the school in Lilburn and congratulating the wrestling team for winning the AAAAA State Duals Championship this winter for the second time in three years.

Flowe refused to take credit for leading Parkview's football squad at least as far as the state quarterfinals for 11 consecutive years and or for his 86 percent winning percentage.

"The accomplishments of Parkview High School aren't by one person,'' he told House members. "This is a great community with a great school.''

The two resolutions were sponsored by Rep. Clay Cox, R-Lilburn.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.