"Everybody knows Northrop Grumman and G.E., but if you went out on the street and asked who the top 10 [defense] contractors are, I can guarantee you that SAIC would not be one of them."
~ Glenn Grossenbacher, in "Washington's $8 Billion Shadow".
~ Glenn Grossenbacher, in "Washington's $8 Billion Shadow".
Last Thursday, I posted a link to a long article on the Wolfowitz scandal from The New Yorker and carried at Truthout, noting that the article suggested that Wolfowitz had been appointed to the World Bank in an effort to keep events in Iraq moving according to the Bush Administration playbook.
More on that has come out today, from the NYTimes:
The Defense Department directed a private contractor in 2003 to hire Shaha Ali Riza, a World Bank employee and the companion of Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense, to spend a month studying issues related to setting up a new government in Iraq, the contractor said Monday.
The contractor, Science Applications International Corporation, or SAIC, said that it had been directed to hire Ms. Riza by the office of the under secretary for policy. The head of that office at the time was Douglas J. Feith, who reported to Mr. Wolfowitz.
After her trip to Iraq, Ms. Riza briefed members of the executive board of the World Bank on efforts to rebuild after the American invasion and specifically on the status of Iraqi women, according to Ms. Riza’s supervisor at the time.
All of this is very loaded. For example, SAIC is perhaps one of the worst corporate parasites sucking blood money out of Iraq. Check this excellent rundown on the SAIC bloodsuckers at in a Vanity Fair article from last month:
The company's annual revenues, almost all of which come from the federal government, approached $8 billion in the 2006 fiscal year, and they are continuing to climb. SAIC's goal is to reach as much as $12 billion in revenues by 2008. As for the financial yardstick that really gets Wall Street's attention—profitability—SAIC beats the S&P 500 average. Last year ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, posted a return on revenue of 11 percent. For SAIC the figure was 11.9 percent. If "contract backlog" is any measure—that is, contracts negotiated and pending—the future seems assured. The backlog stands at $13.6 billion. That's one and a half times more than the backlog at KBR Inc., a subsidiary of the far better known government contractor once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, the Halliburton Company.
And since we just celebrated Tax Day in the US, check this out:
It is a simple fact of life these days that, owing to a deliberate decision to downsize government, Washington can operate only by paying private companies to perform a wide range of functions. To get some idea of the scale: contractors absorb the taxes paid by everyone in America with incomes under $100,000. In other words, more than 90 percent of all taxpayers might as well remit everything they owe directly to SAIC or some other contractor rather than to the IRS.
How much did you donate last year to SAIC's war industry welfare?
What everyone agrees on is this: No Washington contractor pursues government money with more ingenuity and perseverance than SAIC. No contractor seems to exploit conflicts of interest in Washington with more zeal. And no contractor cloaks its operations in greater secrecy. SAIC almost never touts its activities in public, preferring to stay well below the radar.
Naturally, there's a link to what Sibel Edmonds has referred to as Dime-a-Dozen Generals:
Civilians at SAIC used to joke that the company had so many admirals and generals in its ranks it could start its own war. Some might argue that, in the case of Iraq, it did.
[ . . . ]
SAIC executives have been involved at every stage of the life cycle of the war in Iraq. SAIC personnel were instrumental in pressing the case that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq in the first place, and that war was the only way to get rid of them. Then, as war became inevitable, SAIC secured contracts for a broad range of operations in soon-to-be-occupied Iraq. When no weapons of mass destruction were found, SAIC personnel staffed the commission that was set up to investigate how American intelligence could have been so disastrously wrong.
It's all an inside job, and a completely cynical one at that. There's more backgrounder on SAIC at CorpWatch, and a search of that site for "Science Applications International Corporation" reveals more info. Then there's a listing at Sourcewatch.
Another connection between the Wolfowitz girlfriend scandal and Sibel's information is the mention of Douglas Feith. In the NYTimes article, once again Feith feigns Alzheimer's disease by claiming that he can't recall a damned thing about ordering Wolfowitz's main squeeze to be hired by SAIC or to be sent to Iraq. Of course, "Doug Feith's International Advisors Inc, a registered agent for Turkey in 1989 - 1994, netted $600,000 per year from Turkey . . ." as Lukery has previously posted, meaning that Feith is deep into the deep shit of the Deep State.
More on Feith's stupidity vis-a-vis Iraq here. Feith also cooked the books, so to speak, on the al-Qaeda/Saddam connection.
And what about Shaha Ali Riza? Well, for one thing, the arrangements Wolfowitz made for her put her in the State Department and increased her salary from $132,660/year to $193,590/year--with no donations to SAIC required because, not being a resident of the US, Riza paid no taxes on income. That tax-free salary definitely put her way over Condoleeza Rice, who earns $186,000 before taxes, according to the BBC.
Riza herself took to playing the helpless, innocent victim last week, an angle that the LATimes has begun to manufacture. But is Riza really so helpless or innocent?
The story is that Riza moved out of the World Bank to the State Department because Wolfowitz took over as the World Bank chief and you can't have that kind of conflict of interest at the World Bank. But with the news today of Doug Feith's involvement with this business, I suspect Riza's move was contrived to continue to facilitate blood money rolling in to war industry contractors, like SAIC, from Iraq. In the build-up to the Iraq war, there was considerable tension, if not downright hostility, between the State Department and CIA, and the Pentagon. Kanan Makiya talked about the hostility in a PBS Frontline interview in 2003. That hostility continued during the so-called reconstruction and continues this day through the neoconservative gang vs. Baker-Hamilton gang (read that as Pentagon gang vs. State/CIA gang).
If Wolfowitz was appointed to lead the World Bank in order to facilitate the Pentagon gang's interests in Iraq, then my money says Riza was moved to the State Department not to avoid a conflict of interest at the World Bank, but to keep tabs on the State Department's handling of Iraq for the Pentagon gang. That's the real reason why everyone's making a big deal of this affair.
With the big blood bucks of the war industry on the line in Iraq, the antagonism between the Pentagon gang and the State/CIA gang continues, only this time underground and with a mole--Shaha Ali Riza.