White House spokesman Scott McClellan was asked at today's press briefing if he felt that 'Dubai Ports World's' recent takeover of several U.S. port operations was a matter of concern, considering the company is controlled by the ruling Maktoum family of the UAE, which had close ties with al Qaeda prior to 9/11.
McClellan admitted that prior to 9/11, UAE Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and other members of the royal family had gone on frequent hunting expeditions with Osama bin Laden, even after US embassies in Africa were blown up by al Qaeda terrorists.
He also admitted that US intelligence had learned in 1998 that an al Qaeda recruiting effort to lure US citizens to come and train in terrorist camps, was based in the UAE, but, he said, "this is exactly why we want 'Dubai Ports World' to run our ports".
"Who would you rather have running our ports?" he asked. "Would you prefer a company that has no connection to terrorism and wouldn't know the difference between an American luxury liner and a terrorist smuggling boat or would you rather have these guys who wined and dined with Osama bin Laden and know al Qaeda terrorists like the back of their hands?"
"These UAE officials have spent quality time together with al Qaeda leaders. They've developed an outstanding relationship with them, and they're quite familiar with their terrorist operations. Only the UAE is armed with enough information to make sure our ports remain safe from enemy penetration."
McClellan went on to say that no one seems to wonder why many corporations hire former computer hackers to see to it that their computers aren't being hacked. "But the reason is simple," he said. "They realize that no one knows hacking better than a hacker - and the same thing can be said about terrorism , no one knows terrorists better than a terrorist."
McClellan added, "personally, I think the benefits of having the UAE run our ports is a no-brainer."
Al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri agreed with Mr. McClellan's assessment.
"I'm personally familiar with each and every one of those officials who run Dubai Ports World," Zawahiri said in an interview with Al Jazeera television.
"Those guys are a class act, and our own organization will greatly benefit from their knowledge of port operations."
When al Zawahiri was questioned if he was concerned with statements made by US officials that port security would remain under US Coast Guard supervision, Zawahiri replied that he had no problem with that at all.
"As long as Dubai Ports World helps us cut through all the red tape, and finds ways for us to get through the ports without being detected, we're fine with that," Zawahiri said.
Meanwhile, CNN is reporting that an Iranian Nuclear establishment is bidding for the rights to operate several nuclear plants within the United States.
According to CNN, White House officials have said they would have no objections to such a deal, as long as the security operations of the plants remain under US control.
"If an Iranian company wants to manufacture nuclear materials here in the US and sell them elsewhere, or even make use of the materials right here in the United States, that's fine with us," an administration official said, "as long as the US continues to oversee all security operations at the plants."
CNN is also reporting that an Iranian lobbyist group has been lobbying Senators in Washington DC. to pass legislation that would allow Iranian officials to run for the office of US President.
According to the Times Of London, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his staff that he's contemplating a run for the US Presidency in 2008 if the Senate passes the bill that would allow him to run.
"If I'm elected US President, the United States would have nothing to worry about," Ahmadinejad said. "The day to day security operations of the country would still remain under the authority of Homeland Security. My job as newly elected President would primarily be to create massive reform within the United States and to run the country as far down to the ground as I possibly can."
Ahmadinejad said that he would still need to straighten out his visa and to get a green card before he runs in the US elections.
"I don't want to break any US laws," he said. "That's all I need right now is to get myself locked up in a US jail and have to wait for the Russians and the IAEA to bail me out."