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On Associations, Or, I’ll See Your Ayers, And Raise You A Saddam October 15, 2008

Barack Obama is a Threat To America, we are told, because he served on a board of directors and had other contacts with William Ayers, who, in the 1960s, was, or was not, involved in terrorist acts for which he was never convicted of any crimes.

So imagine how serious of a Threat To America we would have if, last month, one of the two candidates hired someone to lead their transition team—the person who would recommend who should be selected for every appointed office of the new Administration—who, at the time of the 9/11 attacks, actually worked for Saddam Hussein…and who ended up working for him for five years.

Well, one of the candidates did, and I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t Obama.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to meet William E. Timmons, Sr.

Before we go further, the reason we’re talking about this today is because of a story posted by Murray Waas, over at the Huffington Post—but it’s a story that is, to some degree, independently verifiable, some of which I’ll do here.

Here’s the deal:

Samir Vincent, according to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, began illegal work as an unregistered lobbyist for the Government of Iraq in 1992, just after the First Gulf War, work he continued until 2003, just before the Second Gulf War.

His goal was to assist Saddam in either getting the sanctions the UN had placed on Iraq modified or removed. He planned on doing this by working with both US and UN officials at the highest levels.

The sanctions had resulted in the creation of the “Oil-For-Food” Program, which was being used by Saddam as a source of kickbacks (“I’ll sell you oil at below-market prices, you resell it…kick me back some as a bribe” is the way the scam worked)…and he was being personally given oil to resell (illegally, as it turns out) for his services.

The US Attorney’s charging sheet shows that Vincent’s company was allowed to purchase 9 million barrels of oil from 1997 to 2003 in violation of the UN sanctions by the Iraqi Government.

Murray Waas tells us that Vincent was able to get this job because, believe it or not, he was a “boyhood friend” of Tariq Aziz, Saddam’s Deputy Prime Minister (and the “eight of spades”), and Nizar Hamdoon, Saddam’s Foreign Minister.

Despite his influence back in Iraq, he needed someone who could reach up into the US and UN Administrations.

His business partner at the time, William E. Timmons, Sr. (you knew I would get to him eventually…), knew a guy. To be completely accurate, Timmons apparently knows everybody, which is why he was involved in this deal in the first place…and why he has been such a successful lobbyist for so long.

Tongsun Park, who was already famous from the “Koreagate” scandal, was enlisted to “gain access”, if you will, to those high-ranking officials.

In February of 1996, according to the Sealed Complaint the US Attorney (again, Southern District of New York) prepared in March of 2005 regarding Park’s criminal charges, Vincent made a trip to Baghdad to sign a deal to collect $15 million if they could get the sanctions removed. He returned with a $450,000 “down payment”, according to the US Attorney.

That money was to be divided between Vincent, Park…and Timmons.

Lots of money was also supposed to be used to bribe the US and UN officials; and the questions of exactly who did and did not bribe who is one of many elements of the abuse of the Oil-For-Food Program explored in exquisite detail by the UN’s Independent Inquiry Committee (the “Volker Report”).

For at least the next five years this pattern continued—trips to Iraq, deals to end sanctions that never bore fruit…notes passed between Timmons and Vincent and Tariq Aziz…and eventually, criminal prosecutions for serving as unregistered foreign representatives.

We need to have a full and complete cooperation on the part of the U.N. about this whole oil-for-food program, which stinks to high heaven. We’re talking about billions and billions of dollars here that were diverted for many wrong purposes. And this is an example of corruption.

And by the way, it’s an argument, maybe a small one, but maybe an argument that justifies our action in Iraq. Because clearly the sanctions and the framework of those sanctions was completely eroded.

John McCain on ‘FOX News Sunday’, December 05, 2004

Vincent made a deal and became a “Cooperating Witness”, Park’s sentence was reduced to 37 months—and they made him pay back half of the $2.5 million he personally made (most of it in $100 bills).


Ummmm…he sort of walked away from all of this to continue a fabulous lobbying career that includes clients such as Freddie Mac, who paid him $180,000 in 2005, $190,000 in 2006, $200,000 in 2007 (inflation?), and, just this year, even as they slid below the waves, $100,000—and now, of course, he will be recommending to McCain who McCain should hire for that shiny new Administration he’s planning.

So when McCain tells you that serving on a board with a man who was never convicted of any crime is a Threat To America, keep in mind that the guy he is hopes will give him good advice on his Cabinet appointments used to work for Saddam Hussein–for half a decade or so.

And in the world of Debate ThreatDowns, just to keep things straight, from bottom to top, it’s: Chupacubra, Bears!, and Guy Who Used To Work For Saddam Hussein For Five Years Who Now Runs Your Transition Effort.

I hope that helped.