Richard Bruce Cheney
He was CEO of Halliburton while it sold millions in oil equipment to Iraq under the
the notoriously corrupt U.N. Oil for Food Program. As Vice President, he kept his
Halliburton stock and a $150,000 company salary, while Halliburton and its
subsidiaries have won $16 billion in contracts in Iraq. Cheney also headed the
Energy task force, meeting in secret with oil services companies like Halliburton,
as well as the oil industry’s top advocacy group, and Enron. The ensuing report
recommended the same energy policies that were suggested by the industry groups,
sometimes in the exact same words.
Meanwhile, Halliburton has been at the center of scores of corruption investigations – most recently, Halliburton subsidiary KBR supplied U.S. troops with contaminated water that made them sick.
Today Cheney is one of the most influential figures in the White House – a shrewd powerbroker with an office near the House floor in addition to his office in the West Wing and his Senate offices. He has affected policies that subsidize the oil industry and was a driving force behind President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.
When President Bush underwent a colonoscopy in 2002, Cheney became only the second man in history to serve as acting president. And in 2003, an executive order gave him the power to classify documents.
Cheney’s political career began in 1969, under President Richard Nixon, where in a span of five years he served in several roles including Deputy Assistant to the President. Under President Gerald Ford, he joined forces with Donald Rumsfeld to persuade Ford to fire Defense Secretary James Schlesinger. He was rewarded by becoming Ford’s chief of staff, the youngest in history.
As a Congressman (R-Wyoming), he served five terms until 1989 in such influential positions as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and House Minority Whip. It was during this time that Cheney’s unabashed advocacy of private sector energy interests first emerged. He became a vigorous proponent of Wyoming’s petroleum and coal businesses, and a federal building in its regional center of the oil and coal business, Casper, was even named the “Dick Cheney Federal Building.”
He served as Secretary of Defense until 1993 under President George H.W. Bush, directing the U.S.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_invasion_of_Panama invasion of Panama and Operation Desert Storm. In 1993, he left the Department of Defense and joined the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank that is one of the architects of the current Bush administration’s public policy. More than two dozen alumni have served in the administration, and its board of trustees includes Lee Raymond, ex-CEO of ExxonMobil.
From 1995 until 2000, Cheney served as board chairman and CEO of Halliburton, the nation’s largest oilfield services company. During Cheney’s tenure, the number of Halliburton subsidiaries in offshore tax havens increased from nine to 44. He lobbied to lift U.S. sanctions against Iran and Libya. When that didn’t work, Halliburton did business with Iran anyway. In 2000, Halliburton opened a Cayman Islands subsidiary for the sole purpose of circumventing U.S. sanctions against Iran. In 2004, the Justice Department opened an investigation into Halliburton’s Iran contracts, worth $30 million to $40 million a year.
As a vice-presidential candidate, Cheney claimed that Halliburton under his leadership did not do business with Iraq, also the subject of U.S. sanctions. But, in fact, two Halliburton subsidiaries, Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump Co., sold Iraq $73 million in supplies for its oil industry under the auspices of the corrupt U.N. Oil for Food Program. The supplies provided by Halliburton increased Iraq’s oil production, which dictator Saddam Hussein used to buy weapons and to build palaces.
Cheney also sat on the Board of Directors of Procter & Gamble, Union Pacific and Electronic Data Systems, and while still CEO of Halliburton in 2000, he headed George W. Bush's Vice-Presidential search committee. After reviewing Cheney’s findings, Bush asked Cheney to be his running mate. Though Cheney resigned from Halliburton in 2000, putting all his corporate shares into a blind trust, his net worth (between $30 million and $100 million), is still largely derived from his time there. Since Cheney became vice president, Halliburton has won $16 billion in no-bid contracts in Iraq.. Meanwhile, government auditors have issued at least nine reports criticizing Halliburton’s Iraq work, and it is the subject of multiple criminal investigations into overcharging, kickbacks and fraud. The Justice Department is also investigating charges that Halliburton has inflated its fees for services it performs in Iraq. The Pentagon’s Inspector General found in March 2008 that KBR supplied contaminated water to U.S. troops in Iraq for two years. Scores of soldiers became sick from their exposure to the water, which was chlorinated wastewater.
In 2005, Cheney and his wife Lynne reported a gross income of $8.82 million, largely the result of exercising Halliburton stock options that had been set aside with the trust in 2001.
Halliburton is not the only company flourishing thanks to Cheney’s role in the Bush Administration. More than 20 oil industry companies met with Cheney while he directed the National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG), known as the Energy task force, which issued its report in the summer of 2001. Cheney fought for years to keep the deliberations of the task force a secret, but in July 2003 the Supreme Court ruled the Department of Commerce must make the NEPDG's documents public. Those documents included maps of Iraq’s oil fields, pipelines and refineries, and a chapter, titled “Strengthening Global Alliances,” that urged military action.
One of the energy groups that met with Cheney’s task force was Constellation Energy Group, now headed by Mayo Shattuck, former second in command of Deutsche Bank until resigning September 12, 2001. (Under Shattuck, Deutsche Bank handled a flurry of short selling of United Airlines stock in the three days before the 9/11 attacks, when a hijacked United Airlines plane crashed into the World Trade Center and another crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.) Since the Energy task force issued its report, Constellation grew substantially. The Baltimore-based company has ridden higher wholesale energy prices to record revenues, more than $19 billion in 2006.
Former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is not the only friend Cheney brought with him into the Bush Administration. He hired lobbyist Nancy Dorn to be his legislative affairs assistant, after she worked for the governments of Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan and the Houston-based Coastal Corporation, owned by Oscar Wyatt. Both Wyatt and Coastal received oil from Saddam Hussein, again as part of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program. A CIA report stated Wyatt and Coastal reaped $23 million in profits during the program, and in return, Coastal paid Saddam bribes of $201,000.
Cheney also reportedly had “cordial relations” with Yassin Al-Qadi, the wealthy Saudi who offered $500,000 to the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000, one year before he would be designated a terrorism financier, accused of supporting Hamas and Al Qaeda.
And Cheney’s chum Philip Merrill, a wealthy neo-con, oversaw the U.S. trade agency whose sloppy work frequently benefited Iraq contractors including Halliburton. The Export-Import Bank in 2004 approved loans worth more than $1 billion for Halliburton projects in Qatar and Mexico. Meanwhile, a group of investors sent Merrill a letter about Halliburton, alerting him to a corruption investigation underway by the Securities and Exchange Commission. (The SEC investigated allegations that a Halliburton subsidiary paid a $180 million bribe to get a liquefied natural gas plant contract in Nigeria – while Cheney was still CEO.) Merrill claimed the letter had been lost, but was later accused of forwarding it directly to Vice President Cheney.
French and Nigerian officials are still investigating the case, while the FBI probes how Halliburton won several of its Iraq contracts.
- “The Curse of Dick Cheney: The veep's career has been marred by one disaster after another,” August 25, 2004, Rolling Stone, T.D. ALLMAN
- http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/6450422/the_curse_of_dick_ cheney/
- “Dick Cheney, Fiscal Conservative?” July 28, 2000, The New York Times, Robert S. McIntyre
- “The Fifth Estate: The Unauthorized Biography of Dick Cheney,” October 6, 2004, CBC-TV, http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/dickcheney/vice.html
- http://www.whitehouse.gov/energ y/Chapter8.pdf
- “The White House Staff: Inside the West Wing and Beyond,” 2000, Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, pp. 300-312, BRADLEY H. PATTERSON, www.americanpresident.org
- Papers Detail Industry’s Role in Cheney’s Energy Report, Washington Post, July 18, 2007: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/17/AR2007071701987.html ?nav=rss_politics
- Flaws Found in KBR Water Supply in Iraq, Houston Chronicle, March 10, 2008: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/biz/5608455.html
- “Iraq rebuilding contracts awarded: Halliburton, Stevedoring Services of America get government contracts for early relief work,” March 25, 2003, CNN/Money, MARK GONGLOFF
- “Halliburton job bigger than thought: Army says $7 B contract to repair Iraq's oil fields includes operations and oil distribution,” May 7, 2003, CNN
- Firm's Iraq Deals Greater Than Cheney Has Said, Washington Post, June 23, 2001: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A3 5751-2001Jun22