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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republicans in Congress are crafting a solution under which the controversial deal allowing a state-owned Arab company to run some terminals at six U.S. ports could move forward.
The agreement would first have to pass a 45-day investigation focusing on the national security implications of the deal, several sources linked to the talks said.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee is encouraging DP World to ask a government review panel to kick-start the investigations, which is the best way to convince lawmakers the transaction won't jeopardize national security, a Frist aide said.
DP World, a company controlled by the United Arab Emirates, declined to comment Saturday.
On Saturday, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, criticized the deal, detailing the "many reasons why this transaction fails the basic test of common sense with regard to our nation's homeland security."
He said that 11 of the 9/11 hijackers traveled to the United States through Dubai's airport. Two of the suicide attackers were from the UAE.
In addition, Corzine said, "about half of the money used to finance" those attacks was wired to terrorists from Dubai banks. He added that Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan has acknowledged working with a Dubai firm "to supply nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea."
"Dangerous men, tainted blood money and nuclear technology have moved across UAE borders," Corzine said.
He said that to protect the Port of Newark, considered by the FBI "the most vulnerable two miles in America," he directed New Jersey's attorney general and the regional port authority to file lawsuits to stop the deal. (More on lawsuits)
Corzine also said there was a difference between a foreign-owned company like P&O and one owned by a foreign government like DP World.
"Dubai is not Britain," he said, adding that "port security does not begin and end at the pier in Newark." (More on what he said)
President Bush has told reporters that the merger poses no security risk, and he has threatened to veto any legislation that seeks to block the transaction. It would be Bush's first use of the veto power.