Roger L. Simon

Oil-for -Food Under the Radar

While the scandale du jour in Washington continues to get full play, the Oil-for-Food investigation at the United Nations has been literally swept under the carpet by most of our major newspapers. Why would the New York Times or the Washington Post bother to place many of their reporters at the service of this subject anyway? It’s not something important like, say, which reporter may or may not have told “Scooter” Libby which pencil pusher at Langley may or may not at some point been out in the field. It’s only about the very fabric of our most important international organization that affects every person on planet Earth. Definitely not newsworthy!

Well, at least the humble New York Post is paying attention.

WASHINGTON – Members of the commission investigating the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal expressed grave concern that they might harm the U.N.’s reputation during a heated debate about how hard to hit Secretary-General Kofi Annan, according to a secret whistleblower’s testimony to Congress.

Information suggesting an effort to protect the U.N. and Annan was contained in staff notes of a meeting of the Independent Inquiry Commission, headed by former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker, just weeks before it largely cleared Annan of wrongdoing in the scandal, officials said.

The explosive notes were among documents handed over to congressional committees by ex-Volcker investigator Robert Parton, who quit the panel under protest last April – alleging that it had been too soft on Annan.

Sources told The Post that Parton, under congressional subpoena, gave secret testimony to staff members of the three committees probing the oil-for-food scandal last Tuesday in the offices of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Congressional officials said the committees found ex-FBI agent Parton’s story to be “credible.”

Two things are worth noting here. 1. Some Oil-for-Food investigators appear to have been deliberately soft-pedaling their findings. 2. Former Volcker investigator Robert Parton has been talking to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee. [Wasn’t Parton’s resignation first revealed on this blog?-ed. I’m supposed to be the one who toots his own horn.]

(ht: Captain Marlow)