President Bush has decided to stay out of the lion's share of decisions made by his administration.
Sources close to the administration said that over the last year, Mr. Bush has chosen to focus on two issues, leaving the rest to be decided by Cabinet members and senior aides. They said the issues are Iraq and the Republican congressional campaign in the 2006 elections.
"Lots of important issues that deal with national security are never brought to the president because he doesn't want to deal with them," a source familiar with the White House said. "In some cases, this has resulted in chaos."
Mr. Hunter and other members of the House Armed Services Committee were shocked over how little White House staffers knew of the security record of the UAE, cited in testimony to the 9/11 commission as having withheld cooperation regarding al Qaeda in 1999. Last week, Mr. Hunter and Rep. Jim Saxton, New Jersey Republican, brought evidence of how the UAE port of Dubai allowed shipments of nuclear components as well as heavy water and a precursor to nerve gas to countries such as Iran, Libya and Pakistan.
In 2003, Mr. Hunter said, Dubai allowed the shipment of 66 high-speed electrical switches designed to trigger and detonate nuclear weapons. He said Dubai rejected a U.S. request to stop the shipment.
"The point is that if you are an outlaw regime, and you want to develop a nuclear weapons program, you have your components transshipped through Dubai," Mr. Hunter said. "Dubai is a master at masking both the recipient of illegitimate weapons systems and the party that is sending, developing, selling those illegitimate weapons systems. I don't think those are the folks you want to have running your ports."