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2002-12-02

9/11 Families Protest Selection of Henry Kissinger to Head Sept. 11 Investigation: Concerns Rise Over Former Secretary of State’s Ties to Saudi Arabia, We Talk with Investigative Reporter Seymour Hers

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Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said yesterday he will sever ties with any of his global clients if they present conflicts of interest in the September 11 investigation. President Bush last week appointed Kissinger to lead an "independent" investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks.

Kissinger is the founder and chairman of the consulting firm Kissinger Associates Inc. He has represented some of the world’s most powerful multinational corporations, including many with interests in US foreign policy. The Bush administration has not asked Kissinger to disclose the names of his clients, but they are believed to include ExxonMobil, Arco, American Express and Coca-Cola.

Kissinger said he is not aware that any of his clients might pose conflicts of interest with his mission as chairman of the commission. He said no Middle Eastern governments were among his clients.

But Newsday reports that various clients Kissinger Associates have helped are oil companies and engineering firms that sought contracts with the oil sheikdoms of the Middle East.

Kuwait Petroleum Corp., a Kuwait government-owned company, was once a client. Multinational companies doing business with members of the Saudi royal family have been clients, as have members of the Saudi royal family themselves.

Kissinger has also publicly defended Saudi-U.S. relations since Sept. 11. In August, Kissinger disputed a report by an analyst at the Rand Corporation that Saudi Arabia was an enemy of the United States. Kissinger told NBC that the accusation is "extravagant and does not relate to truth."

Kissinger went on to say, "it is not acceptable to depict Saudi Arabia as a terrorist state, given its long history of cooperation with the United States in this and other vital fields."

Guests:

  • Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter and author of ??The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House.
  • Elizabeth Alderman, spokesperson for the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism. She lost her 25-year-old son Peter in the World Trade Center attack. She lives in Armonk, New York.

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