Cheneyburtongate

Cheney has stated that he has had no role or influence in the government’s award of no-competitive-bid contracts to Halliburton.

As Time and CNN are reporting, a March 5, 2003 e-mail puts those comments into question. The email is "an internal Pentagon e-mail from an Army Corps of Engineers official to another Pentagon employee". As the story says:

The e-mail — dated March 5, 2003 — says Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, approved the arrangement to award the contract to the oil-services company. According to an e-mail excerpt in Time, the contract was "contingent on informing WH [White House] tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w[ith] VP’s office."

. The contract was awarded 3 days later. Time reports the e-mail also says Feith got the "authority to execute RIO," or Restore Iraqi Oil, from his supervisor, Paul Wolfowitz.

Now, all that’s bad enough, but listen to the excuses.

[A] senior official told CNN the e-mail was a typical "heads-up" memo from one government agency to another that "a decision has been made, we’re about to announce this contract, and as a courtesy we are alerting the White House of a public announcement. This is a standard practice."

The "coordinated action" referred to, the senior administration official said, was "that of publicly announcing the contract decision that has already been made."

So the decision to award the contract to Halliburton had "already been made"? Okay, but then why does the email itself say that the contract was "contingent about informing WH [White House] tomorrow"?

The lame excuse-making goes on:

The heads-up would have been given because of Cheney’s previous involvement in the company as chief executive officer, and the anticipated controversy over the noncompetitive bid, the official said.

But the email itself says "We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w[ith] VP’s office."

So let me get this straight – – The e-mail was a heads-up that there might be controversy over the Halliburton non-competitive bid contract, yet the email itself says that there would be "no issues . . ."?

Seriously . . . WTF?!?

What do you think?