The Unauthorized Biography of Dick Cheney

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The fifth estate: The Unauthorized Biography of Dick Cheney
Broadcast on the fifth estate Wednesday, October 6 2004 on CBC-TV at 9PM

American Vice-President Dick Cheney has walked the corridors of world power
for three decades.

Cheney's remarkable life story involves the relentless accumulation of power
in every form
and regardless of the outcome of this fall's election, he will continue to
be one of the
most powerful and well-connected men in the world.

The fifth estate will show how he accomplished this, what it involved in
terms of costs for others and what history's judgement could be.

Jacob Plotkin was Cheney's Yale roomate.

"It's hard to flunk out of Yale. It's something that one really has to put
effort into. Yale at that time tried to make sure everybody who entered

Where others might spend some time on the weekend studying, Dick was either
talking, drinking or playing cards with his football buddies."


JANUARY 30, 1941:
Richard B. Cheney is born in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Cheney attends high school in Casper, Wyoming. He becomes football captain,
top 10 student and meets his future wife, homecoming Queen, Lynne Vincent.

Cheney, a Yale student, turns 18 and becomes eligible for the draft.

JUNE 14:Cheney drops out of Yale, returns to Wyoming and takes a job with
the local power company.

FEBRUARY: Cheney was classified as 1-A, available for military service.

NOVEMBER 19: Cheney is arrested for drunk driving. (see the police court
docket on the Smoking Gun website, Link:

MARCH 20: Cheney applies for his first student draft deferment.

JULY 23: Cheney applies for his second draft deferment after enrolling at
the University of Wyoming.

OCTOBER 14: Cheney applies for his third student draft deferment. By now the
Vietnam war has escalated following the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

Cheney marries his high school sweetheart, Lynne.

NOVEMBER 1: Cheney gets his fourth draft deferment.

Cheney graduates and is once more listed as 1-A, ready for military service.

JANUARY 19: When his wife was about 10 weeks pregnant, Cheney applies for
3-A status, the ''hardship'' exemption, which excludes men with children or
dependent parents. It is granted.

JANUARY: Cheney turns 26 and is no longer eligible for the draft.

Cheney wins a congressional scholarship with Wyoming Republican congressman
William Steiger and goes to Washington. Cheney travels to campuses to report
on scenes of violent student unrest.

Cheney goes to work for Donald Rumsfeld as his special assistant at the
Office of Economic Opportunity.

AUGUST: Cheney joins Gerald Ford’s presidential transition team when
President Nixon resigns.

NOVEMBER: Cheney becomes Assistant to President Ford and Chief of Staff.

JUNE 18: Cheney suffers his first heart attack.

Cheney is elected as a congressman from Wyoming.

Cheney becomes Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1981, a
position he holds until 1987.

Cheney votes against a House resolution calling for the release of Nelson
Mandela and the recognition of the ANC.

Cheney is elected House minority whip.

Cheney undergoes quadruple by-pass surgery to clear clogged arteries.

Journalist Jim Mann had covered Dick Cheney's career for 30 years and wrote
Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet.

"I found memos from Cheney about what salt shakers should be used at White
House dinners. Whether Betty Ford should have a headrest on the helicopter
or not. Who gets White House Christmas cards and who doesn't.

Cheney is a guy who started at the bottom. He knows how the White House
works, right down to the grass roots level. And he uses that to great effect
as he raises higher and higher in government."


MARCH: Cheney becomes Secretary of Defense when President George H.W. Bush’s
first choice, John Tower, is rejected by the Senate for personal misconduct.

Cheney, when asked why he sought draft deferments during the Vietnam war
said "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service."

AUGUST 1: Cheney gets briefing from General Norman Schwarzkopf about Iraqi
threats against Kuwait.

AUGUST 2: Iraq invades Kuwait.

AUGUST: Cheney flies to Saudi Arabia to convince King Fahd to allow US
troops into his country.

SEPTEMBER: The Pentagon says that 250,000 Iraqi troops with 1500 tanks are
massed on the Saudi border. The photos are never made public.

Soviet satellite imagery taken that day shows no troops near the border.
(see the photos, Link: Photo 1:
Photo 2:

Journalist Jean Heller learns about the Soviet satellite imagery and
presents them to Dick Cheney's office at the Pentagon. They ignore the

JANUARY: Operation Desert Storm begins.

In the wake of Desert Storm, Cheney hires Halliburton to put out 320
well-head fires and engage Halliburton subsidiary Brown and Root to rebuild
courthouses, schools, utilities, police stations, and computer systems in

JUNE 10: Cheney and the troops who fought in Desert Storm are honored with a
ticker tape parade up Broadway in New York.

JULY 3: Secretary Cheney is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by
President George H.W. Bush for his work on the Gulf War.
Cheney pays Halliburton, Brown and Root $8.9 million for two studies on how
to downsize the military.

AUGUST: Halliburton is selected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do
all the work needed to support the military for five years. This is the same
plan it had itself drawn up.

NOVEMBER: Bill Clinton elected president. Cheney's term as Secretary of
Defense is over.

Reporter Jean Heller presented Soviet satellite photos which did not show
Iraqi troops amassed on the Saudi border to the Pentagon.

"It's what it (the photos) didn't show that's more important. What you
expected to see were tanks on the border. There was none that we could see.

I said, look, if you can prove tome that our story isn't true, we won't run
it. And they just ignored it.

They have never shown those (U.S. satellite images) photos. Not then and not


DECEMBER: Halliburton provides assistance to U.S. troops in Somalia.

Cheney sets up Political Action Committee and ponders run for presidency.
The CEO of Halliburton contributes to his PAC. Halliburton will later be
awarded contracts after invasion of Iraq.

On a fishing trip with Halliburton CEO Thomas H. Cruikshank, and other
captains of industry in New Brunswick, Cheney is asked if he would be
willing to become Halliburton’s CEO.

MARCH: President Clinton signs an order prohibiting "new investments [in
Iran] by U.S. persons, including commitment of funds or other assets."

U.S. companies are prohibited from performing services "that would benefit
the Iranian oil industry." Companies face fines of up to $500,000 and
individuals may receive 10 years in jail for breaking the embargo.

MAY 6: President Clinton imposes a near total U.S. economic embargo on Iran.
OCTOBER: Cheney becomes CEO and Chairman of Halliburton.

During his five year stint at Halliburton, the company wins $2.3 billion in
federal contracts, almost double the total of the previous five years, and
another $1.5 billion in taxpayer-insured loans.

Halliburton is fined almost 4 million for selling products to Libya that
could be used to trigger a nuclear program.

Cheney, acting as head of Halliburton, says in a video for auditing company
Arthur Andersen, "I get good advice, if you will, from their people based
upon how we're doing business and how we're operating, over and above just
sort of the normal by-the-books auditing arrangement, They've got the
traditional role to fill as our auditors...They do that extraordinarily
well.” Arthur Andersen will collapse in the fallout of the Enron scandal
five years later.

Cheney tests the waters for a presidential run, but manages to raise only $1

JULY 22: Abdulamir Mahdi, an Iraqi who'd come to Canada in his 20's owned a
business that supplied oil fields in Iran with North American parts. His
Toronto office places an order for $41,000 worth of Halliburton spare parts
for a cementing unit in Iran.

He says before before the deals, he consulted with lawyers and Canada
Customs who told him that the US embargo didn't apply to Canadians.

SEPTEMBER 25: Halliburton Energy Services prepares an invoice for spare
parts that have been sold to Abdulamir Mahdi. The invoice puts Kuwait as the
final destination for the parts. In fact, the equipment is headed for Kala
Naft in Iran.

OCTOBER 7: In a purchase separate from the Mahdi transaction, Kala Naft’s
London office, the purchasing arm for the National Iranian Oil Company asks
Halliburton subsidiary in Dubai to send a price quote for purchases for the
Iranian oil industry.

OCTOBER 16: Mahdi’s office receives a statement of compliance from
Halliburton Energy Services in Texas saying the parts he ordered has been
inspected and meet Halliburton and industry standards.

OCTOBER 30: Spare parts purchased by Mahdi are shipped to Canada for a
Halliburton cement unit in Iran.

Halliburton is opposed to the U.S. embargo and lobbies congress against the
Iran/Libya sanctions bill.

Cheney negotiates the purchase of Dresser Industries for $7.7 billion.

After the purchase, numerous asbestos related lawsuits hit the hybrid
company. The claims forced several Halliburton divisions into bankruptcy.
Halliburton’s stock falls 80 percent in one year.

MARCH: Abdulamir Mahdi is arrested in Florida during a sting operation. At
the same time his office in Toronto and his home are searched by the RCMP.

NOVEMBER 22: Abdulamir Mahdi receives a 51-month sentence on one count of
conspiracy to evade export regulations for sending equipment to Iran and
Iraq. (read about the case, Link: )

FEBRUARY: Halliburton opens an office in Tehran while Cheney is still CEO.
At the same time, Halliburton ends its presence in Iraq.

SPRING: George Bush asks Cheney to help him find a vice-presidential running

JUNE 13: Cheney tells the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary “we’re kept
out of there primarily by our own government, which has made a decision that
U.S. firms should not be allowed to invest significantly in Iran and I think
that’s a mistake.

JULY: Cheney says he never voted against releasing Mandela from jail. He
says he was only voting against imposing sanctions, even though sanctions
were never mentioned in the House vote.

JULY 25: Bush tells the press that he has chosen Cheney to be his running

JULY 30: Cheney says he actually wanted Mandela out of prision "Well,
certainly I would have loved to have Nelson Mandela released. I don't know
anybody who was for keeping him in prison. Again, this was a resolution of
the U.S. Congress, so it wasn't as though if we passed it, he was going to
be let out of prison."

AUGUST 16: Cheney quits Halliburton to run as Bush’s vice-president. He
exits Halliburton with a stock payoff worth $30 million.

Dan Briody
Business reporter Dan Briody says the Halliburton did business with both the
U.S. government and it's enemies.

"Dick Cheney is simply the latest in a succession of politicans that
Haliburton has used to secure government contracts."

"He (Cheney) says he wasn't aware that Halliburton was doing business with
Iraq while he was CEO...if you believe that either he's a very bad CEO for
not being aware or he's not telling the truth."

Lyndon Berzowsky was the U.S. export enforcement officer who supervised the
case against Mahdi.

"Once these acts became illegal and he (Mahdi) knew it was illegal to do it,
then he continued to do it. He was charged with violating a U.S. law."

"Let me assure you that had we had the evidence to go after, whether it was
Halliburton or any other company we certainly would."


Abdulamir Mahdi sold Halliburton's and other parts to Iran. He was arrested
and spent four years in U.S. custody for evading export laws. He wrote a
letter to Dick Cheney.

"If I'm guilty, you're guilty. If you're innocent, I'm innocent. You did
business with the same country that I did."


Democratic senator Frank Lautenberg says that Halliburton's business with
Iran is unethical and possibly illegal.

"To be looking for breaks in the law that permit them (Halliburton) to
profit while this hostility (with Iran) is in front of us is unacceptable
under any condition."



OCTOBER 24: Halliburton announces layoffs and assets sales because of
weakness in its construction and engineering businesses. Analysts reduce
Halliburton’s earning forecast.

OCTOBER 25: Halliburton announces it is under a grand jury investigation for
over-billing the government of California.

NOVEMBER: Cheney suffers his fourth heart-attack.

NOVEMBER 13: It is reported that Halliburton stock has lost between $3 and
$4 billion of its total market value.

Dressers Industries asbestos problem and weak engineering portfolio is
blamed. Democrats question if Cheney had insider information when he sold
his stock two months earlier for $30 million.

During the election campaign Cheney tells ABC News. “I had a firm policy
that we wouldn’t do anything in Iraq, even arrangements that were supposedly

However, during his time as CEO, Halliburton was selling millions of dollars
to Iraq in supplies for its oil industry. The deals were done through old
subsidiaries of Dresser Industries. It was done under the auspices of the
corrupt UN Oil for Food Program.

Halliburton worked with Iran and Libya as well, using its own subsidiaries.

JANUARY 19: Dick Cheney is sworn in as Vice President of the United States.

JANUARY 29: President Bush announces the formation of the National Energy
Policy Development Group in Cheney’s office. He announces that Cheney will
chair the group.

FEBRUARY 2: Wall Street Journal publishes expose on Halliburton’s Tehran
office. (read the article, Link: )

Abdulamir Mahdi writes a letter to Cheney complaining that he is in jail for
violating the Iranian embargo while the Vice President, who did the same
thing, is free.

MARCH 5: Cheney has balloon angioplasty performed at George Washington
University Hospital after suffering chest pains.

APRIL 19: Representatives John Dingell and Henry Waxman, Ranking Members of
the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, send a letter to the General
Accounting Office, seeking to obtain information about National Energy
Policy Development Group. They wanted to find out who had participated in
the report.

MAY 16: Cheney presents to President Bush a report entitled National Energy
Policy, which recommended the adoption of the national energy policy that
had been developed by the NEPDG. (read the National Energy Policy, )

JUNE 21: Cheney’s office sends 77 pages of miscellaneous documents
supposedly as a responsive reply to GAO’s request for documents. The package
of documents contain pages with dollar amounts but no indication of the
nature of purpose of the expenditure. Also included was the executive
director’s credit card receipt for a pizza. Requests by the GAO for
additional information was denied.

AUGUST 2: Cheney sends a letter to the Senate and House of Representatives,
stating “actions undertaken by an agent of the Congress, the Comptroller
General, which exceeded his lawful authority and which, if given effect,
would unconstitutionally interfere with the functioning of the executive

Cheney says the GAO’s demand for documents compromise “the confidentiality
of communications among a President, a Vice-President, the President’s other
senior advisors and others.”

Cheney also states that he had provided "documents responsive to the
Comptroller General's inquiry concerning the costs associated with the
(Energy task force's work.)" Cheney was apparently writing about the 77

SEPTEMBER 11: Al Qaeda attacks in New York and Washington. In the wake of
the attacks, Dick Cheney reportedly is taken to Raven Rock, a top-secret
military base. He orders U.S. military fighters to shoot down any civilian
planes that may have been hijacked.

JANUARY: Sierra Club sues Cheney, et al, to get documents related to the
National Energy Development Group. (read a report from the Sierra Club,
Link: )

FEBRUARY: Ambassador Joe Wilson is told by the CIA that Cheney is interested
in an allegation that Iraq had tried to purchase Yellow Cake uranium from
Niger. Wilson goes to Niger to investigate and concludes the rumour is

FEBRUARY 22: David Walker, the Comptroller of the General Accounting Office,
files a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to get access to records relating to
the activities of the National Energy Development Group. (see the document
.pdf file, )

JUNE 22: A memo written by INC (Iraqi National Council) lobbyist Entifadh
Qunbar to a U.S. Senate committee lists John Hannah, a senior
national-security aide on Cheney's staff, as one of two "U.S. governmental
recipients" for reports generated by an intelligence program being run by
the INC and which was then being funded by the State Department. The letter
shows Cheney's office was getting intelligence from a highly suspect source.

AUGUST 26: Cheney tells an audience of veterans "There’s no doubt that
Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction [and that he will use
them] against our friends, against our allies and against us.”

Selling the nuclear threat became key to convincing Americans to support the

DECEMBER 9: U.S. District Court Judge John Bates dismisses the high profile
lawsuit filed by David Walker, the Comptroller of the General Accounting
Office, against Vice President Dick Cheney.

Investigative journalist Seymour Hirsh says that Cheney was insistent on
invading Iraq from the beginning.

"Saddam is ousted. You get a moderate Baathist regime and a democracy flows
out - like water out of a fountain. And not only will democracy flow in
Iraq. It will flow into Syria. The Iranians will also see the light.

They (Cheney and others) believed this. Utopian, idealist, crazy."

Intelligence specialist Greg Thielman says his State Department Office was
receiving information that was different from what the White House was

"Their starting point was not 'let's try to figure out what is going on' but
'let's see what kind of information we can come up with to justify the
policy line we want to pursue'."

"Cheney was the driving force behind an orchestrated presentation to the
American public of a different version of reality than the reality we saw."

Air Force Lietanant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski worked at the Pentagon along
side the 'Office of Special Plans' a group that worked with Cheney on
intelligence matters.

"When I heard those (President Bush's) speeches I recognized many of the
anecdotes. Having seen the intelligence I knew this was a manipulation of
the information. It was cherry picked information, out of context

It bothered me a great deal because I saw it to be conscious manipulation.
Not an oversight but consciously done."

"If you don't tell Dick Cheney what he wants to hear, you're out of a job."


JANUARY 28, 2003: President Bush gives his State of the Union Address where
he presents a case against Saddam Hussien and states that "The British
government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant
quantities of uranium from Africa". (see the address, Link: )

FEBRUARY 7: The General Accounting Office abandons its efforts to obtain
records about the operation of the Vice President's Task Force on Energy

The Comptroller says while he believes the decision of the Judge Bates was
incorrect, to pursue it would take too much time and resources. He also
points out that private litigants were still pursuing the Cheney documents.

MARCH: Cheney declares "we believe that he [Saddam Hussein] has in fact
reconstituted nuclear weapons."

Cheney publicly states mid-March that U.S. troops would be "greeted as
liberators” in Iraq.

MARCH 5: Army Corps of Engineers writes in an e-mail that a contract for
restoring Iraqi oil fields is being coordinated with Cheney’s office. Three
days later a Halliburton subsidiary was awarded the $7 billion contract.

MARCH 19: U.S. begins Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Baghdad is bombed.

APRIL 7: Newsweek reveals that Cheney is still receiving annual compensation
from Halliburton for his tenure as the company CEO. This while the U.S.
military was giving contracts worth potentially billions of dollars to

APRIL 8: California Democratic representative Henry Waxman, joined by
Democratic representative John Dingell, request a General Accounting Office
investigation, writing that 'ties' between Cheney and Halliburton 'have
raised concerns about whether the company has received favorable treatment
from the administration. This is their second request concerning Cheney.

JULY 6: Ambassador Joe Wilson writes an article for the New York Times
criticizing the Bush’s state of the the Union address for including the
allegation that Iraq had tried to obtain yellow cake uranium from Niger.
(read the article, Link: )

JULY 14: Syndicated columnist Robert Novak reveals that Ambassador Joe
Wilson’s wife is a CIA operative. That information, he writes, came from two
senior administration officials. This leak violates U.S. law. (read the
article, Link: )

AUGUST 25: The GAO releases a report called Energy Task Force: Process Used
to Develop the National Energy Policy.” (read the report .pdf file)

SEPTEMBER 14: Cheney repeats widely discredited report that 9/11 hijacker
Muhammad Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001.

Bush publicly admits there is no evidence linking Iraq to September 11
terrorist attacks.

DECEMBER 15: U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear Cheney appeal a lower court
order that Cheney turn over documents related to the Bush administration’s
Energy Task Force. Cheney had been fighting efforts to disclose the
documents for three years.

JANUARY: Dick Cheney goes duck hunting with US Supreme Court Justice Antonin

Halliburton states in an SEC filing "Since [Cheney's] nomination as vice
president, Halliburton has been and continues to be the focus of
allegations, some of which appear to be made for political reasons by
political adversaries of the vice president and the current Bush

We expect that this focus and these allegations will continue and possibly
intensify as the 2004 elections draw nearer.”

U.S. Treasury department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control begins
investigation into allegations that Halliburton may have violated the U.S.
embargo against Iran through a subsidiary based in Dubai.

FEBRUARY 3: Halliburton is accused of overcharging the U.S. military $36
million for meals at a U.S. base in Kuwait.

FEBRUARY: Justice Department investigation into allegations that Halliburton
paid $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials to get contract to build a
natural gas plant in the late 1990s, when Cheney was still CEO.

Halliburton, in its annual report, says U.S. government contracts accounted
for 26 percent of its revenues in 2003. That is up from 10 percent the year

MARCH: The Pentagon asks the justice department to help investigate
allegations that Halliburton overcharged for fuel in Iraq by more than $80

MARCH 18: Scalia releases a 21 page memo refusing to recuse himself from the
Cheney appeal on the Energy Task Force lawsuit. Scalia had been asked to
recuse himself because of a duck-hunting trip he took with Cheney in
January. (read the memo, Link: )

APRIL 8: Two congressmen, Henry Waxman and John Dingell, ask the General
Accounting Office to investigate ties between Cheney and Halliburton and
whether the company has received favourable treatment from the

JUNE: U.S. media reports that Dick Cheney had been questioned about the leak
of the identity of Valerie Plame, the CIA-officer married to Joe Wilson.
JULY: A federal grand jury in Houston subpoenas documents for Halliburton as
it investigates allegations that the company may have violated the US
embargo against dealing with Iran.

AUGUST: Halliburton settles with the Security and Exchange Commission,
agreeing to pay $7.5 million for not disclosing a change in its accounting
practices that allowed it to report higher earnings in 1998 and 1999. The
SEC accused Halliburton of hindering its investigation.

OCTOBER 5: Cheney meets Democratic Vice-Presidential challenger John Edwards
in a televised debate.

Imad Khadduri, formerly a top Iraqi nuclear scientist, says the bombing
during the first Gulf War destroyed Iraq's nuclear program - and it was
never re-built.

"On the night I heard President Bush enunciating his clear intention of
invading Iraq on the pretext of a nuclear weapon program, I was struck by
the incredulity of that charge."


In The State of the Union Address President Bush repeated a rumour that Iraq
had recently purchased uranium from Africa. Joe Wilson, a former ambassador
to Africa knew that it wasn't true.

"It become clear to me that there's been a deliberate attempt on the part of
some of the members of government to deceive the U.S. Congress and deceive
the American people ... deceive the world as to the nature of the threat
posed by Saddam's nuclear program."


Former CIA director James Woolsey doesn't believe that the intelligence
gathering was biased - nor does he think the war was unwarrented.

"I wasn't present in any of those conversations, but whether the
Vice-President said something with a frown on his face or a smile doesn't
matter. The CIA directors job is to encourage people to call it straight and
it's their job to call it straight."

"I think the President's made a good case that in a world of people like
Saddam, Khameinin, Kim Jong II - that waiting for the chemical, biological
and nuclear weapons program to mature is a bad idea."


Democratic Senator Frank Lautemberg says Halliburton has profitted from the
war with Iraq.

"They've overcharged for food and lodging, they've overcharged for gasoline,
trucking - all kinds of things. Their behaviour has been awful."

"There's no doubt that he (Dick Cheney) is a very influential person in the
White House, that he still has some contact with Halliburton."



Dick: The Man Who Is President
by John Nichols, New Press, 2004

The Halliburton Agenda: The Politics of Money and Oil
by Dan Broidy, John Wiley & Sons, 2004

Rise of the Vulcan's: History of Bush's War Cabinet
James Mann, Viking Books, 2004

Halliburton's Destructive Engagement, Earthrights International ( )
Energy Task Force, Process Used to Develop the National Energy Policy, GAO
(.pdf file) ( )
Chronology of GAO’s Efforts to Obtain NEPDG Documents from the Office of the
Vice President, GAO (.pdf file) ( )

Court Documents
Mahdi Case (.pdf file) ( )
GAO Case (.pdf file) ( )
Sierra Club case ( )

Internet Sites
Vice-President, Richard B. Cheney - offical White House website ( )
Dick Cheney - biography from Bush/Cheney campaign website ( )
Dick Cheney - from Wikipedia, includes links to speeches and interviews ( )

Other Media Reports
The Curse of Dick Cheney - a report by Rolling Stone (
The Fall of a Statesman - from
( )
Halliburton's Boss from Hell - from
( )
Contract Sport: What did the Vice-President do for Halliburton? - from the
New Yorker
( )

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