Figure of Speech: parrhesia (par-REZ-ia), the excuse-my-French figure.
Congress is having what the L.A. Times calls a “bipartisan hissy fit” over the United Arab Emirates’ acquisition of a British company that runs some terminals in major U.S. ports. The “links to 9/11” probably refers to the fact that a few of the hijackers passed through the UAE; by which definition, the USA has even greater links to 9/11.
MoDo’s use of a parrhesia (“frankness”) betrays the real reason for Congressional and columnist grandstanding: the terrifying word “Arab.” The parrhesia apologizes in advance for candid speech. You usually hear it right before a thoughtless generalization. (“It isn’t PC to say this, but…”)
Snappy Answer: “The Brits don’t count as foreign. (Except Arab Brits. They’re foreign.)”