Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Truth Be told...
From the Center for American Progress - The Progress Report


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was the only American to sit on the board of a company which six years ago sold two light water reactors to North Korea. "Rumsfeld was a non-executive director of ABB, a European engineering giant based in Zurich, when it won a $200m contract to provide the design and key components for the reactors. The current defense secretary sat on the board from 1990 to 2001, earning $190,000 a year." While conservatives now fault President Clinton for selling the light water reactors to North Korea under the previous Agreed Framework, few cite Rumsfeld's role in the deal. Rumsfeld has never acknowledged that he knew the company was competing for the nuclear contract. In response to questions about his role in the reactor deal, the Defense Secretary's former spokeswoman Victoria Clarke told Newsweek in February 2003 that "there was no vote on this" and that her boss "does not recall it being brought before the board at any time." ABB spokesman Bjoern Edlund told Fortune magazine at the time that "board members were informed about this project." One former director who sat with Rumsfeld on the board said they were told about the contract. "This was a major thing for ABB," the former director said, "and extensive political lobbying was done." The director recalled being told that Rumsfeld was asked "to lobby in Washington" on ABB's behalf. A few years after participating in the deal, Rumsfeld attacked the concept of selling reactors to North Korea. In a speech at the Heritage Foundation, Rusmfeld said, "Our present nuclear agreement with North Korea unfortunately does not end its nuclear menace. It merely postpones the reckoning, with no assurance that we will know how much bomb-capable material North Korea has."

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