Robert James WoolseyFormer CIA director James Woolsey strongly advocated for war in Iraq – and then turned his political beliefs into millions for his corporate employers including national security contractor Information Systems Laboratories, Inc. In the past, he’s sat on the boards of major contractors like British Aerospace, Inc., DynCorp., and Titan, Inc. notorious for its role in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. Woolsey’s a big player in the defense world, who’s served on most of the significant national security commissions and boards.
Woolsey started his career as a lawyer for the U.S. Senate committee on Armed Services in 1970. Three years later, he joined the Washington, D.C.-based firm Shea & Gardner, where he is still a partner as of the end of 2007. From 1977-1979 Woolsey served at Undersecretary of the Navy. In 1989, he became Ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. His highest profile government position was Director of Central Intelligence from 1993-95. Since then, he’s been in the private sector, working again at Shea & Gardner and, in 2002, joining the consulting firm Booz Allen.
As an executive at these companies, he’s urged Pentagon officials to invade Iraq for many years. In 2002, he founded the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a private advocacy group, supported by the White House to build public support for the war. Woolsey is also on the Defense Policy Board, an unpaid advisory panel serving then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior Pentagon officials. He’s also a member of the neo-con think tank Project for a New American Century, and a signatory alongside high-profile Bush administration officials on a 1998 letter urging President Clinton to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
Through these companies, he has profited from his public positions. As a vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, Woolsey was a featured speaker in May 2003 at a conference co-sponsored by the company at which about 80 corporate executives and others paid up to $1,100 to hear about the economic outlook and business opportunities in Iraq. He’s also a managing partner at Paladin Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in homeland security infrastructure.
His wife, Suzanne Woolsey, is a trustee of a little-known arms consulting group. In January 2004, she joined the board of Fluor Corp., which quickly won about $1.6 billion in Iraq reconstruction contracts. Fluor has a history of scandal and abuse, including repeated claims of overcharging. In 2001, Fluor paid $8.5 million to the Defense Department in 2001 to settle charges it improperly billed the government for work benefiting its commercial clients. Fluor is at least half owned by Osama bin Laden’s brother Yeslam.
In 1998 Senate testimony, Woolsey stated that billionaire Saudi banker Khalid bin Mahfouz was a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden. Bin Mahfouz later sued several newspapers that printed the allegation for libel. Woosley later denied that he meant to reference bin Mahfouz, saying that he was talking about a “Mr. Hafouz.” However, other remarks in his testimony suggested that he meant bin Mahfouz. Mahfouz was an early investor in George W. Bush’s energy companies.
As of the end of 2007, Woolsey is a board member at the following:
- Information Systems Laboratories, Inc: BOSCH Aerospace, a division of the large national security contractor, supplied several variants of a DARPA-sponsored surveillance rapid air inflated tower (RAFT) to US Army forces in Iraq in 2003.
- Linsang Partners: In June of 2003, Linsang Partners Manufacturing was selected by Voxtec, a Division of Marine Acoustics, to manufacture the Phraselator 2, a handheld translation device used by the US Special Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Fibersense Technology Corporation: Acquired by major Iraq defense contractor Northrupt Grumman in 2002. Northrop Grumman’s Vinnell Corp. subsidiary was awarded a $48 million contract to train the new Iraqi Army last year. Northrop Grumman has been penalized $191.7 million in the past four years, including $750,000 paid to the Pentagon in 2000 in a case involving allegations of providing faulty replacement parts for the JSTARS airborne surveillance system.
- DynCorp. (1988-1989): On April 18, 2003, DynCorp International won a contract from the U.S. Department of State to provide up to 1,000 civilian advisers to help organize civilian law enforcement, judicial and correctional agencies. The estimated value could be as high as $50 million for the first year. In Afghanistan, the company received a contract of a maximum of $82,263,898 by mid-July 2003 to provide security services. Private equity firm Veritas Capital bought DynCorp in 2005 for $850 million. Veritas also purchased defense contractor MZM from defense contractor Mitchell Wade, implicated in the Rep. Wade Cunningham bribery scandal. MZM was renamed Athena Innovative Solutions.
- Titan Corporation (1983-1989): Titan is a multi-billion dollar defense contractor, now owned by Symatic, an information security company with ties to Bush brother Marvin Bush. As part of a $402 million contract, Titan has more than 4,400 linguists assisting the U.S. government's reconstruction and counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq. Major General Antonio Taguba implicated two Titan employees in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.
- British Aerospace, Inc. (1992-1993): Merged Marconi Electronic Systems (MES) in 1999 to form BAE Systems Inc., the world’s fourth-largest military contractor and the only foreign Pentagon supplier to crack the top 10. In June BAE received a $180 million Foreign Military Sales delivery order to manufacture 378 Iraqi Light Armored Vehicles (ILAV). The total value of contract could reach $445.4 million. In December 2005, BAE picked up a $4.7 million contract from the US Army's Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM). In 2006, BAE partnered with Carlyle Group, a private equity firm with strong Bush family ties, to spin-out its imaging business into a company called Fairchild Imaging.
- “Consultants Profit From Their Pentagon Ties,” The Los Angeles Times, 8/15/04.
- “Top Investigator in 9/11 Victims Lawsuit Faces Libel Trial,” The Lost Angeles Times, 2/26/03.
- “IRAQ: 10 US Contractors Penalized,” Associated Press, 4/26/04.
- “Windfalls of War,” Center for Public Integrity.
- “British Arms Merchant With Passport to the Pentagon,” The New York Times, 8/16/06.
- “Advocates of War Now Profit from Iraq's Reconstruction,” Los Angeles Times, 7/14/04.
- “The midnight ride of James Woolsey,” Salon, 12/20/02