Jamal DanielJamal Daniel, a Syrian-American millionaire whose parents are said to have been involved in the founding of the Ba’ath Party, is a business partner of Neil Bush, the son of former President George H.W. Bush and brother to President George W. Bush. Together Bush and Daniel have profited from Hurricane Katrina and the war in Iraq.
Daniel and Bush began working together in the early 1990s, according to the Financial Times. Daniel and Bush were co-chairman of a firm called Crest Investment Corp., which paid Bush $15,000 every three months. The San Francisco Chronicle says having Bush’s name as a reference helped Crest win a no-bid contract with Texas to build a liquid natural gas (LNG) storage facility worth $400 million. The contract promises to continue to yield $2 million a year.
Early in their partnership, Daniel paid for Bush to take his family to Disneyland Paris shortly after the Silverado Savings and Loan scandal. (As director of Silverado, Bush approved large loans to two former business partners that were never repaid. When Silverado collapsed under the weight of similar defaulted loans and other profligate business practices, Bush paid a $50,000 court settlement. The federal government bailed out Silverado shareholders at a cost of more than $1 billion.) Several years later, Daniel paid $380,000 for a Kennebunkport cottage near the Bush compound for Neil Bush.
In return, Neil Bush has written letters to Middle East investors, including the president of Yemen, extolling the virtues of Daniel’s companies.
Together, Bush and Daniel founded New Bridge Strategies in May 2003, to help companies secure contracts in Iraq. New Bridge’s director was Joseph Allbaugh, who ran George W. Bush’s presidential campaign and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Edward M. Rogers and Lanny Griffith have served on its board – both men were assistants to George H.W. Bush, and, with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, are principals in the lobbying firm Barbour, Griffith and Rogers.
New Bridge shares the address and several board members with Diligence, LLC, a company founded by past members of the CIA and Britain’s intelligence agency, MI-5. Barbour, Griffith and Rogers (BGR) provided some initial funding for Diligence. Both New Bridge and Diligence are located in BGR’s Washington office building. Diligence runs a subsidiary (Diligence Middle East) that is 40 percent owned by Mohammed Al-Saqar, chairman of the foreign relations committee of the Kuwaiti Parliament.
According to the Financial Times, New Bridge persuaded Al-Saqar to invest in a Diligence business that will provide security in Iraq. In return, New Bridge got a stake in the Iraq security firm.
Diligence’s work includes “payroll protection and delivery around the country, personnel and facilities security, due diligence on potential Iraqi business partners and companies, screening of local potential hires, vetting, training and management of security personnel for guard work and close protection services, and the provision of daily intelligence briefs.”
Daniel and Bush are now partnering in an educational software company called Ignite. The Financial Times reports that Daniel boasts of being a founder of the company, and that he has helped Bush raise money for it. The Washington Post reported that Bush had raised at least $23 million for Ignite.
Ignite reaped a windfall in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Bush’s mother Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed sum of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund (started by her husband and former President Bill Clinton), with the caveat that the money be spent to buy Ignite. Eight Texas schools that took in children evacuated after the hurricane later received Ignite software,
In November 2007, the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Education said he would investigate whether federal funds were misused to buy Ignite software for schools in three states.
- http ://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/11/07/MNG3Q9ME2V1.DTL
- Bush’s Brother’s Firm Faces Inquiry Over Purchases, New York Times, November 7, 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/07/washington/07neil.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&re f=education&pagewanted=print
Financial Times had several articles:
“Consultant on Iraq contracts employed president’s brother NEIL BUSH,” November 28, 2003, THOMAS CATAN and STEPHEN FIDLER
“Businessmen used link to Neil Bush,” December 12, 2003, THOMAS CATAN and STEPHEN FIDLER
“A company hoping to help win contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq links controversial business associates of Neil Bush, brother of the US president, to some Republican heavy hitters,” December 12, 2003 Friday, THOMAS CATAN And STEPHEN FIDLER