A tradition with ex British Government Ministers is that they get sinecures in the houses of the people they were nicest to in office.
Old soldiers never fade away gracefully either. …
In the spring of 2007 a tiny military contractor, Defense Solutions, went shopping for a retired general with national stature. The company signed Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and military analyst for NBC News, to a consulting contract starting June 15, 2007.
Four days later the general sent a personal note and 15-page briefing packet to David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, strongly recommending Defense Solutions and its offer to supply Iraq with 5,000 armored vehicles from Eastern Europe.
General McCaffrey did not mention his new contract with Defense Solutions in his letter to General Petraeus. Nor did he disclose it when he went on CNBC that same week and praised the commander Defense Solutions nor when he told Congress the next month that it should immediately supply Iraq with large numbers of armored vehicles and other equipment.
He had made similar arguments before he was hired by Defense Solutions, but this time he went further. In his testimony to Congress, General McCaffrey criticized a Pentagon plan to supply Iraq with several hundred armored vehicles made in the United States by a competitor of Defense Solutions.
General McCaffrey has made nearly 1,000 appearances on NBC and its cable sisters, he commands up to $25,000 for speeches, his commentary regularly turns up in The Wall Street Journal, and he has been quoted or cited in thousands of news articles, including dozens in The New York Times.
His influence is such that President Bush and Congressional leaders from both parties have invited him for war consultations. BR McCaffrey Associates, promises to “build linkages” between government officials and contractors like Defense Solutions for up to $10,000 a month.
He has also earned at least $500,000 from his work for Veritas Capital, a private equity firm buying contractors whose profits soared from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, he is the chairman of HNTB Federal Services, a company that competes for national security contracts.
On NBC and in other public forums, General McCaffrey has consistently advocated wartime policies in line with his corporate interests not described to NBC’s viewers. The president of NBC News said that General McCaffrey was a man of honor and achievement who would never let business obligations color his analysis for NBC. He described General McCaffrey as an “independent voice” who had courageously challenged Mr. Rumsfeld, adding, “There’s no open microphone that begins with the Pentagon and ends with him going out over our airwaves.”
In earlier e-mail messages, General McCaffrey played down his involvement in lobbying for contracts, suggesting he mainly gave companies “strategic counsel.” His business responsibilities, he wrote, simply do not conflict with his duty to provide objective analysis on NBC.
General McCaffrey advocated invasion, urged building up the military to sustain the occupation and warned that premature withdrawal would invite catastrophe.
General McCaffrey is now being examined by the Pentagon’s inspector general, the Government Accountability Office and the Federal Communications Commission. The Pentagon inspector general is investigating whether special access gave these analysts an improper edge in the competition for contracts.
NBC anchors typically introduced him by describing his medals or his exploits in the gulf war. Or they noted he was a West Point professor, or the youngest four-star general in the history of the Army. They did not mention his work for military contractors.
Veritas gave its advisers board seats on its military companies, along with profit sharing and equity stakes that were all the more attractive because Veritas intended to turn quick profits through initial public offerings. From his first months on the air, General McCaffrey called for huge, sustained increases in military spending for a global campaign against terrorism. He also advocated spending for high-tech weapons, including some like precision-guided munitions and unmanned aerial vehicles that were important to the Veritas portfolio. He called the C-17 cargo plane — also a source of Veritas contracts — a “national treasure.”
In a statement, Veritas said it had gained no “discernible benefit” from General McCaffrey’s television appearances and called his TV work “completely independent” from his role with Veritas.
General McCaffrey harbored significant doubts about the invasion plan. There were not enough tanks, artillery or troops, he would say, and the result was a “grossly anemic” force that unnecessarily put troops at risk.
That is not what General McCaffrey said when asked on NBC outlets to assess the risks of war. As planning for a possible invasion received intense news coverage in 2002, he repeatedly assured viewers that the war would be brief, the occupation lengthy but benign. Years later General McCaffrey would say he knew that the post-invasion planning was a disaster.
Mr. Rumsfeld struck back. He abruptly cut off General McCaffrey’s access to the Pentagon’s special briefings and conference calls. “They showed him what life was like on the outside.”
Within days General McCaffrey began to backpedal, professing his “great respect” for Mr. Rumsfeld. For months to come, General McCaffrey defended the Bush administration.
He was one of the few retired four-star generals on television, and his well-known friendships with men like General Petraeus and Gen. John P. Abizaid gave him added currency.
Veritas had been on a shopping spree, buying military contractors deeply enmeshed in the war. Its biggest acquisition was of DynCorp International, best known for training foreign security forces for the United States government. By 2005 operations in Iraq and Afghanistan accounted for 37 percent of DynCorp’s revenues.
General McCaffrey undertook a one-man news media blitz in which he contradicted the dire assessments of many journalists in Iraq. He bore witness to progress on all fronts, but most of all he vouched for Iraq’s security forces. He did not disclose that he owned special stock that allowed him to share in DynCorp’s profits, up 87 percent that year largely because of the Iraq war.
“I took as objective a look at it as I could,” he told David Gregory, the NBC correspondent.
General McCaffrey did, however, play an indirect role in helping Veritas win one of its largest contracts, to supply more than 8,000 translators to the war in Iraq.
The contract had been held by L-3 Communications. As General Marks recalls it, General McCaffrey asked him to lead an effort to win the contract for Veritas.
General Marks, who became a CNN military analyst after his retirement in 2004, would be named president of a new DynCorp subsidiary, Global Linguist Solutions, created in July 2006 to bid for the translation contract. In August 2006 Veritas designated General McCaffrey as chairman of Global Linguist. According to a 2007 corporate filing, General McCaffrey was promised $10,000 a month plus expenses once Global Linguist secured the contract. He would also be eligible to share in profits, which could potentially be significant: the contract was worth $4.6 billion over five years, but only if the United States did not pull out of Iraq first.
The United States, he said, should keep at least 100,000 troops in Iraq for many years. He disputed depictions of an isolated and deluded White House. After meeting with the president and vice president on Dec. 11 in the Oval Office, he went on television and described them as “very sober-minded.”
The general’s Web site lists his board memberships, it does not name his clients, nor does it mention Veritas Capital, NBC's News president, said he was unaware of General McCaffrey’s connection to the translation contract. CNN officials said they, too, were unaware of General Marks’s role in the contract.
On Dec. 18, 2006, the Pentagon stunned Wall Street by awarding the translation contract to Global Linguist. DynCorp’s stock jumped 15 percent.
There are 7 pages of this on here. This post is 1300 words long. Would you stand for it?
I doubt it. Stuff like this is too depressing for a good read. The man aught to be shot and hung up in public. So too should generals like Petraeus who were in the dark about all this.
Were they really that blind?
I doubt the hacks in the NY Times were and they don't have briefings like Petraeus does do they?
It's all water under the bridge now. What's a few hundred thousand dead women and children?
Dead BROWN women and children?