FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is Thomas White Fit to Lead the Army?

by JASON LEOPOLD

Secretary of the Army Thomas White is preparing to lead thousands of the nation’s soldiers into war with Iraq and still, not one journalist has spilled any ink on White’s knowledge of the suspect accounting practices at Enron Energy Services, the division he ran for several years before being tapped to run the Army.

This is the same man who admitted in sworn testimony before a Senate committee in July that he phoned dozens of his former colleagues at Enron last year to get information on Enron’s financial condition and whether it would impact the value of his stock he still held in Enron. White’s phone conversations with his Enron buddies took place shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. and while military personnel were being sent to break up the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

White clearly did not have his priorities in order. It’s a valid question to ask whether Thomas White is suited to oversee the Army’s $82 billion budget and one million of the Army’s soldiers who are on active duty. This is the same man who dozens of former Enron employees say headed up a division at Enron that contributed heavily to Enron’s collapse. We are now expected to trust that our soldiers will be in good hands as White leads them off to war.

The media, be it out of laziness or because journalists just don’t give a damn, gave up on pursuing any leads that suggested White took part in the dubious accounting practices that destroyed Enron, one of the biggest corporate scandals in American history. The fact that Thomas White, a highly placed executive at Enron, has said publicly that he was unaware of the suspect accounting practices that took place at the division he ran calls into question his capability of leading the United States Army, especially at a time when war with Iraq seems inevitable.

I spent one-year investigating Thomas White’s role at Enron. In my conversations with more than 50 former employees at Enron Energy Services I was told that White was well respected as a person, a likeable guy, but, at best, he knew that Enron was hiding losses and possibly took part in some of those schemes. White has not yet explained how Enron Energy Services booked a $1.3 billion profit from a contract the unit signed with Eli Lilly even though Enron paid the pharmaceutical company $50 million in cash as an incentive to sign the contract and hid this fact from investors and the public. White’s signature is on the approval sheets and he earned a hefty bonus from the Eli Lilly deal despite the fact Enron Energy Services never performed any of the services described in the contract.

I wonder whether the editorial and op-ed columnists for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal who called for White’s resignation earlier this year will take White to task again. This time lives are at stake.

JASON LEOPOLD can be reached at: jasonleopold@hotmail.com

 

JASON LEOPOLD is the former Los Angeles bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires where he spent two years covering the energy crisis and the Enron bankruptcy. He just finished writing a book about the crisis, due out in December through Rowman & Littlefield. He can be reached at: jasonleopold@hotmail.com

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail