Halliburton profited from deals with Iraq during Saddam Hussein's dictatorship and during Dick Cheney's tenure as CEO. The deals, which began before Halliburton acquired the two subsidiaries responsible for them, were conducted discreetly through several Halliburton subsidiaries in Europe.###
The deals with Iraq were legal, but, as Martin Lee of the San Francisco Bay Guardian has put it, "in terms of sheer hypocrisy, Halliburton's relationship with Saddam Hussein is hard to top."1
During the 2000 presidential campaign Cheney acknowledged that the company did business with Libya and Iran, yet for some reason he claimed: "Iraq's different."
In an August 2000 segment of ABC's This Week news program, reporter Sam Donaldson had this exchange with Cheney:
Donaldson: I'm told, and correct me if I'm wrong, that Halliburton, through subsidiaries, was actually trying to do business in Iraq?
Cheney: No. No. I had a firm policy that I wouldn't do anything in Iraq - even arrangements that were supposedly legal. We've not done any business in Iraq since U.N. sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990, and I had a standing policy that I wouldn't do that.
Yet the Washington Post reported soon after Cheney came into office in January 2001 that oil industry executives and confidential UN records revealed that Halliburton held stakes in two firms -- Dresser Rand and Ingersoll-Dresser Pump -- that signed contracts to sell more than $73 million in oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq from the first half of 1997 through the summer of 2000 -- while Cheney was chairman and CEO of the company. Apart from complying with the law, the executives say, there was no specific policy related to the issue at Halliburton, as Cheney claimed.
Confidential U.N. documents viewed by the Post detailed more than $2.5 million in contracts between Ingersoll Dresser Pump Co. and Iraq that were blocked by the Clinton administration. The equipment was never delivered to Iraq.
The Democrats didn't make much of the issue during the 2000 election because the rest of the deal was legal under the UN's oil-for-food program and did not violate the foreign policy of the Clinton administration. In addition, the Democrats had their own potential skeletons in the closet. Former CIA Director John Deutsch, who had served in a Democratic administration, was on the board of Schlumberger, the second-largest U.S. oil-services firm, while it did business with Saddam Hussein during the Clinton years through overseas subsidiaries. In fact, Halliburton was among more than a dozen American firms that supplied Iraq's petroleum industry with spare parts and retooled its oil rigs when U.N. sanctions were eased in 1998.2
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that many American companies paid bribes to Saddam Hussein for illegal Iraqi business contracts during the 1990s. The Bush administration is concealing the names of those companies despite calls from Congress to make them public. Is the Bush administration concealing the names because Halliburton is on the list?
Washington Post: Firm's Iraq Deals Greater Than Cheney Has Said
Transcript of Cheney on ABC's 'This Week'
Bush Conceals Names of U.S. Firms That Paid Kickbacks to Saddam
1. Martin A. Lee, "Cheney's Oil Company in Shady Business Deals with Iraq," November 13, 2000.