Then again, our President also didn't find out about this deal until very recently. ( He might have heard earlier if, you know, he read the newspaper like the rest of us) . He may be right though - I mean, honestly, who's going to mess with us when we have a VP running around shooting people in the face with shotguns?
On a more serious note - read Bruce Schneier's take on the port security situation. As usual, he nails it.
Whether a king is hiring mercenaries, an organization is hiring a network security company or a person is asking some guy to watch his bags while he gets a drink of water, successful security proxies are based on trust. And when it comes to government, trust comes through transparency and openness.
The point, I think, is that there may well be no security risk here - but given the circumstances and their track record, the administration does not get the benefit of the doubt. If they want me to trust them, they have to give me a real reason to.
Hollow rhetoric saying we "don't need to worry about security" and how important it is that we "not send mixed messages to our allies" is not exactly getting the job done.