"The giant energy and construction firm once managed by Vice President Dick Cheney is no longer in the running for a $600 million rebuilding contract in postwar Iraq... though the Houston-based firm could take part as a subcontractor.
Allegations of a too-close-for-comfort relationship with corporate America have long dogged Cheney and other Bush administration officials, as well as insiders. On Thursday, leading hawk Richard Perle stepped down as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon panel of unpaid outside advisers, after congressional Democrats raised questions about his relationship with Global Crossing, a telecom firm that had sought his assistance in winning government approval for a deal with an Asian conglomerate.Cheney's spokeswoman, Cathie Martin, said Friday she "hadn't even heard" that Halliburton would not be awarded the reconstruction contract and added, "The vice president has nothing to do with these contracts."
But a U.N. official who follows the issue told NEWSWEEK that the Iraq reconstruction contract probably wasn't worth the bad publicity for Halliburton, which depends on maintaining a favorable image both in Washington and the Arab world (where it gets much of its oil-related business, and where the war is increasingly unpopular). "This kind of political controversy was not in their corporate interests," he said. Halliburton may prefer to quietly work as a subcontractor rather than be in the spotlight as prime contractor, the official suggested.
Iraq · Fri, 03/28/2003 - 14:08 · Importance: 1