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Cheney ‘Coordinated’ Halliburton Contract For Iraq

InternationalU.S. Vice President Dick Cheney \"coordinated\" a multibillion-dollar oil contract in Iraq to his former employer Halliburton before the U.S.-led war to occupy the oil-rich country, a leading U.S. magazine revealed.

A Pentagon e-mail, sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official on March 5, 2003 - two weeks before the war - said Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith struck the contract between Halliburton and the U.S. administration of George W. Bush, Time magazine reports in its June 7 edition, which is due on newsstands Monday, May 31.

Feith, who reports to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, approved arrangements for the contract \"contingent on informing WH (White House) tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w[ith] VP\'s (vice President\'s) office\", said the mail.

The newsweekly said it was three days later that Halliburton won the contract and the Pentagon sought no other bids although no other bids had been submitted.

\"As vice President, I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts led by the Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the federal government,\" Cheney told NBC\'s \"Meet the Press\" in September, Time said.

Time says it found the e-mail \"among documents provided by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group\".

Time reports the e-mail also says Feith got the \"authority to execute RIO ,\" or Restore Iraqi Oil, from his supervisor, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

The existence of the e-mail was confirmed to CNN by a senior administration official familiar with it.

Cheney\'s office denied Sunday, May 30, that he was involved in hammering out any oil contracts.

\"The vice President and his office have played no role whatsoever in government contracting since he left private business to campaign for vice President\" in 1999, Cheney spokesman Kevin Kellems said.

Deferred Payments

Cheney was chairman and chief executive officer of the Texas-based Halliburton Co., one of the world\'s largest service providers to the oil and gas industry, from 1995 to 2000, when he resigned to run for vice President.

Cheney still receives about $150,000 a year in deferred payments for work he performed as chairman, according to CNN.

He also holds more than 433,000 stock options, according to a report last fall by the Congressional Research Office requested by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat.

Halliburton has been accused by some Democrats of war profiteering.

It was reported last December that the corporation, which was awarded a multi-billion no-bid contract to rebuild Iraq \'s oil industry, embarrassed the Bush administration after overcharging U.S. forces in Iraq for fuel by up to $61 million.

The Pentagon had announced that firms from the countries that opposed the U.S.-led invasion of oil-rich Iraq , notably Canada , France , Germany and Russia , would not get any of Iraq \'s prime reconstruction contracts.

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