CONTROVERSIAL OFFICIALS WITHIN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WHO WERE PNAC SIGNATORIES
Dick Cheney, Vice President
While Vice President, he received a deferred compensation from Halliburton of $180,000-1 million a year, which raised ethics questions.
Washington Post reported on Cheney’s “unusual lengths to avoid transparency”:
“His general counsel has asserted that ‘the vice president is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch,’ and is therefore exempt from the rules governing either.”
Mark Silva writes in the Chicago Tribune’s Washington
Bureau blog that Cheney refuses to comply with Bush’s executive order requiring every agency “within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information” to report their classification activities.
After Cheney and staff propose eliminating the Information Security Oversight Office, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, tells the New York Times, “The [executive order] is designed to keep classified information safe. His argument is really that he’s not part of the executive branch, so he doesn’t have to comply.”
Career Before Election 2000
T.D. Allman in Rolling Stone writes about Rumsfeld and Cheney’s power grab during the Ford administration:
“The Yale dropout and draft dodger was, at the age of 34, the second-most-powerful man in the White House.”
Cheney’s House of Representatives voting record opposed sanctions against apartheid-era South Africa, and voted against: a resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the Equal Rights Amendment and the Clean Water Act.
When he was Secretary of Defense under the first President Bush, Cheney was a hawk for the 1991 Gulf War.
By 1995, Cheney was Halliburton’s CEO, a company that was granted the contracts to clean up Kuwait’s oil industry after the Gulf War.
During Cheney’s tenure as CEO from 1995-August 2000, the Pentagon awarded Halliburton $1.8 billion worth of contracts to build military installations for U.S. operations in Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo.
Thanks to offshore accounts, at least 20 in the Cayman Islands alone (just as Enron had used, which shared Halliburton’s accounting firm Arthur Anderson), Cheney ensured Halliburton went from paying taxes to earning an $85 million tax rebate.
Despite US embargoes and sanctions, Halliburton, through it’s web of subsidiaries, was doing business with Libya, Iran, and $73 million worth of business with Saddam Hussein’s state owned Iraqi oil fields.
During Cheney’s tenure as CEO, Halliburton was fined for overcharging the United States government, a practice that would be repeated during the War in Iraq.
According to the Center for Public Integrity, from 2002-July 1, 2004, Halliburton had $11,431,000,000 in government contracts, more than half of their nearest competitor (Parsons Corp. at $5,286,136,525).
Elliott Abrams, National Security Council Adviser
Abrams was indicted in the Iran-Contra scandal for intentionally deceiving Congress, and pleaded guilty on two lesser charges to avoid a trial and jail.
He was pardoned by President George H. W. Bush on December 24, 1992.
Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State
While Deputy Secretary of State, he outed CIA agent Valerie Plame to journalists Robert Novack and Bob Woodward, and then didn’t come forward when the government began investigating the security breach.
He finally admitted he was the source of the Plame leak in September 2006, three years after Novak published it.
Armitage left the Bush Administration February 22, 2005, and was elected to the board of directors of the ConocoPhillips Oil Company on May 10, 2006.
In the 1980’s he was embroiled in the Iran-Contra scandal, named for illegal weapons transfers between Iran and the Contras.
John Bolton, US Ambassador to the U.N., Under Secretary of State
Bolton worked with Bush’s campaign manager, and his former boss, James Baker to block the recount of votes in Florida during Election 2000.
In 1994, said, “There is no such thing as the United Nations.”
Nevertheless, Bush appointed him Ambassador to the UN when the Senate was in recess, after Bolton’s first nomination had been blocked. When Congress convened, they again denied Bolton’s appointment to the ambassadorship. Bush reportedly wanted to send Bolton through the process a third time, but Bolton decided to step down.
He allegedly relished the chance to rescind America’s involvement in the International Criminal Court, which President Clinton had approved in the 1990’s, calling the moment he signed the rejection letter “the happiest moment in my government service.”
Bolton was president of the National Policy Forum from 1995-1996, but resigned shortly before the Senate launched an investigation that the organization was illegally funneling foreign and corporate money into Republican election campaigns.
Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan, Ambassador to Iraq, US Representative to the UN
In the mid-1990’s, he was a paid consultant to Unocal, who was seeking to build a $2 billion natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan. Unocal had signed letters of approval to the Taliban.
Khalilzad first developed his connections to the Taliban when he aided the Reagan Administration’s anti-Soviet activities in Afghanistan, and kept them as late as December 1997, when he joined Unocal officials at a reception for Taliban delegates in Texas.
I. Lewis Libby, Cheney’s Chief of Staff
He was convicted on March 6, 2007 for lying to government investigators probing the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame. He was charged with five felony counts and convicted on four: two counts of perjury, one count of obstruction of justice, one count of making false statement.
Bush commuted the 30-month prison sentence because he thought it was excessive.
Libby worked with Hadley and Cheney to get the claim that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta met with Iraqi officials in Prague into speeches, despite the fact the claim was known to be false.
Richard Perle, Defense Policy Board Chairman
On December 12, 2002, Perle espoused, “If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage total war…our children will sing great songs about us years from now.”
According to Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker article “Lunch With The Chairman”, Perle was a partner in Trireme, a venture capital firm that invested in homeland security and defense related industries. Perle met with Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi in early 2003, and sources told the journalist that it was implied Saudi investment in the company would result in the “Chairman” using his Pentagon connections to influence policy.
Perle threatened to sue Hersh, calling him “the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist.”
He admitted through his attorney that, while working for the government, he was hired by Global Crossings, a communications and defense contractor seeking Pentagon permission to be sold to Asian company HutchinsonWampoa, and resigned in March 2003 over the controversy.
Donald Rumfeld, Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld allegedly twice tried to resign over the Abu Ghraib scandal, but Bush refused to accept it.
The New Yorker (November 20, 2006) reported that Rumsfeld’s April 2003 argument to the growing insurgent violence in Baghdad was “free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.”
He became a target of his fellow neocons because of his handling of Iraq. Fellow PNAC signatory William Kristol wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, “All defense secretaries in wartime have, needless to say, made misjudgments. Some have stubbornly persisted in their misjudgments. But have any so breezily dodged responsibility and so glibly passed the buck?”
Joshua Muravchik, a scholar at the neocon American Enterprise Institute, wrote in the November/December 2006 Foreign Policy that one of the errors his ilk had made was to support “the revolution in military strategy that our neocon hero, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, has championed” and that “has left our armed forces short on troops and resources.”
Dealings Outside The Bush Administration
T.D. Allman in Rolling Stone wrote about Rumsfeld and Cheney’s power grab in the 1970s. “Having turned Ford into their instrument, Rumsfeld and Cheney staged a palace coup.” Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, Vice President Nelson Rockerfeller and national security adviser Henry Kissinger were ousted. “Rumsfeld was named secretary of defense, and Cheney became chief of staff.”
According to the Glasgow Sunday Herald (4/13/03): “One fact [Rumsfeld] doesn’t want to be reminded about is his former glad-handing with Saddam as Reagan’s special envoy to Iraq in the early 1980’s. While Saddam was blitzing the Ayatollah’s armies with chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war, Rumsfeld spent most of his time talking to the Ba’ath Party about the building of an oil pipeline on behalf of the construction company Bechtel. Bechtel’s former vice chairman is George Shultz, Reagan’s Secretary of State.”
Rumsfeld was chairman of Gilead Sciences (1997-2001) and disclosed between $5-25 million worth of stock. According to Right Web, the biotech company owns the rights to Tamiflu, an influenza remedy to treat bird flu “that’s now the most sought after drug in the world.” According to the October 31, 2005 Fortune, Rumsfeld made at least $1 million from the stock’s increasing value during fears of the epidemic in 2005.
In 2000, Rumsfeld chaired the Commission to Assess National Security Space Management and Organization, which asserted the government must develop space technology to avoid a “Space Pearl Harbor”. Commission members included retired admiral David Jeremiah who had connections to Alliant Techsystems and Litton Industries, retired air force general Thomas Moorman who was a partner in Booz Allen Hamilton, and “mayor of Baghdad” Jay Garner, whose Sy Technology developed the Patriot missile system for America and the Arrow missile system for Israel.
Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense
According to Bob Woodward’s 2004 Plan Of Attack, in the days
immediately following 9/11, Wolfowitz was the “only strong advocate for attacking Iraq… He estimated that there was a 10-50% percent chance Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks.”
In a May 2003 Vanity Fair interview, Wolfowitz said, “The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason.”
The Pentagon said the statement was taken out of context and published the complete statement on their website. After a short pause, Wolfowitz continued, “But there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually, I guess you could say there’s a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two.”
He was nominated by Bush to be President of the World Bank in March 2005, accepted the post and was routinely criticized for “ethical lapses”. He resigned in 2007 due to a sex scandal – allegedly improperly securing a raise and promotion for his girlfriend.
Wolfowitz was chair of the State Department’s International Security Advisory Board in January 2008, despite, according to the Center for Public Integrity, having made 85 public statements reflecting “misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”
Jospeh Cirincione, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said, “The advice given by Paul Wolfowitz over the past six years ranks among the worst provided by any defense official in history. I have no idea why anyone would want more.”
R. James Woolsey, senior government advisor, Committee for the Liberation of Iraq
The former CIA director left the Agency in 1995 and rejoined the law firm Shea & Gardner, which served corporate clients such as defense contractors Boeing and Lockheed Martin, as well as, in 2003, being a registered foreign agent performing lobbying and legal services for the Iraqi National Congress.
He was a founding member of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an organization created in 2002 at the request of the White House to build public support for the eventual war.
While serving in the Bush Administration, he was a principle in Paladin Capital Group, a venture capital firm that secures investment for homeland security firms.
In July 2002, he became vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm and military contractor that then had contracts worth more than $680 million. He told the Wall Street Journal he does no lobbying and none of the companies he’s with have been discussed during a Defense Policy Board meeting.
At the same time he was acting as senior government advisor, Woolsey was also a corporate speaker touting business opportunities in Iraq – again raising questions about his ties to Booz and Paladin.
According to James Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly, “The very
next day, September 12, 2001, James Woolsey, who had been Clinton’s first CIA director, told me that no matter who proved to be responsible for this attack, the solution had to include removing Saddam Hussein, because he was so likely to be involved the next time.”
At Restoration Weekend 2004: Like fellow neocons Norman Podhoretz and Elliot Cohen, Woolsey had been labeling the war on terror World War IV – if one accepts the Cold War as WWIII. “But people hear the phrase World War and they think of Normandy and Iwo Jima and short, intense periods of principally military combat. I think Eliot’s point is the right one, which is that this war will have a strong ideological component and will last some time. So… I started calling it the Long War of the 21st Century.”
Robert B. Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State
Zoellick left the administration in June 2006 to be Vice Chair of International Operations for investment firm Goldman Sachs.
He helped drum up bipartisan support for “fast track” authority on free trade agreements that reduced Congressional and public review.
Despite being a paid consultant to the scandal-ridden Enron, Zoellick was nevertheless nominated by Bush to be president of the World Bank after Wolfowitz resigned. The nomination was accepted.
Randy Scheunemann, Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, Rumsfeld adviser
The former director of PNAC was the founding president of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an organization created in 2002 at the request of the White House to build public support for the eventual war.
Scheunemann got 10 eastern European nations to support the US invasion. He also ran a lobbying PR firm called Orion Strategies which represented various military contractor and oil interests – and also helped eastern European nations to win business in Iraq.
He led the Mercury Group, lobbying for BP America and Lockheed Martin. In 2005, his firm Scheunemann & Associates represented the Caspian Alliance, a consortium of oil and gas producing nations from the Caspian region.
In 2007, he joined John McCain’s presidential campaign as senior foreign policy and national security adviser – while working as a “registered foreign agent”, lobbying for foreign governments (New York Times, May 2008).