Bush conceals names of U.S. firms that paid kickbacks to Saddam Hussein
April 8, 2004
WASHINGTON, April 8 (Summary of McClatchy Newspapers Article) - The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, told Congress that U.S. companies had bribed Saddam Hussein's government in exchange for oil contracts during the 1990s. The Bush administration continues to conceal the names of those companies which had been illegally profiting under Iraq's oil-for-food program. Saddam Hussein siphoned off $10.1 billion from the program through illegal oil contracts and kickback deals with private suppliers of food and medicine. Sens. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Joseph Biden, D-Del., urged Negroponte to disclose the names of U.S. companies involved in the illegal oil deals. "This corruption was not solely a product of Saddam Hussein's machinations," Lugar said. "He required members of the U.N. Security Council who were willing to be complicit in his actions, and he required U.N. officials and contractors who were dishonest, inattentive, or willing to make damaging compromises in pursuit of a compassionate mission." The congressional General Accounting Office estimated that Saddam's regime acquired $10.1 billion illegally through the sale of $5.7 billion in oil smuggled to Syria, Turkey and Jordan, and $4.4 billion through kickbacks paid by firms selling food, medicine and other goods to Iraq. The illegal sales occurred between 1997 and 2002.