A recently discovered Pentagon email indicates Dick Cheney may have helped his close buddies at Halliburton get no-bid government contracts.
The e-mail, reported by Time magazine, provided "clear evidence" of a relationship between Cheney and multibillion-dollar contracts Halliburton has received for rebuilding Iraq, Sen. Patrick Leahy said.
"It totally contradicts the vice president's previous assertions of having no contact" with federal officials about Halliburton's Iraq deals, Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said in a conference call set up by John Kerry (news - web sites)'s presidential campaign. "It would be irresponsible not to hold hearings."
The March 2003 Pentagon e-mail says action on a no-bid Halliburton contract to rebuild Iraq's oil industry was "coordinated" with Cheney's office. Cheney was chief executive officer of the oilfield services giant from 1995 until he joined George W. Bush's presidential ticket in 2000.
Time said it located the e-mail among documents provided by Judicial Watch, a watchdog group. The e-mail was sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official on March 5, 2003.
It said Douglas Feith, who reports to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, approved arrangements for the contract to rebuild Iraq's oil industry "contingent on informing WH (White House) tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w VP's (vice president's) office."
A former deputy defense secretary from the mid-1990s, John White, said the e-mail showed unprecedented political input on Pentagon contracts. An official like Feith, an undersecretary for policy, should not be handling contracts, he said. "I've never heard of anything like this before."