According to a new AP release:
Interviews with dozens of former and current Iraqi officials by congressional investigators have produced new evidence that Saddam Hussein micro-managed business deals under the U.N. oil-for-food program to maximize political influence with important foreign governments like Russia and neighboring Arab states.
These interviews were evidently conducted outside Iraq after an Iraqi official involved in Oil-for-Food died in a car bombing last June. Many documents have been retrieved.
One of the documents, known as “the exempt list” and obtained by AP from congressional investigators at the House International Relations Committee chaired by Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., catalogues companies personally approved by Saddam and top lieutenants to circumvent Iraqi regulations to sign deals. The list contains hundreds of names of companies from more than two dozen countries.
No French, Chinese or American companies are on the list, but more than 280 Russian and 100 Saudi companies account for well over half of the list. The investigator who provided the document to AP said Congress might not have the full list.
This is positive news on two fronts. 1. The Congressional Committee seems to be on the case. (It’s hard to trust the UN to investigate itself.) 2. It’s nice to see another mainstream organ like the Associated Press reporting on this mammoth scandal. Good for them.
(hat tip: Charlie in Col)