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Why Rumsfeld is Silent?

Posted April. 30, 2003 22:31,   


It is surprising that Donald Rumsfeld, the hawkish Secretary of Defense, has been silent over the Geneva Agreement between the U.S. and North Korea in 1994.

This is exactly the opposite of other hardliners` accusation that the Clinton administration was deceived by the North Korean nuclear threat.

Fortune, an economic magazine published every other week, pointed out that there is no clear public record of his views on the controversial 1994 deal and this may have connection with his mysterious career.

The reason that the magazine has suggested is the Defense Secretary`s role in the project to provide North Korea with two light-water nuclear reactors in accordance with the 1994 agreement. He sat on the board of Zurich-based engineering giant ABB that won a $200 million contract to provide the design and key components for the reactors. This is why he is suspected of having been in charge of lobbying in Washington.

Words from the former ABB officials are in line with this presumption.

One of the 15 ABB board members who served at the time the company was bidding for the Pyongyang contract said, “Rumsfeld was asked to lobby in Washington on ABB`s behalf in the mid-1990s because a rival American company had complained about a foreign-owned firm getting the work.”

Goran Lundberg, who ran ABB`s power-generation business until 1995, says he`s "pretty sure that at some point Don was involved.”

It is also doubtful that even though ABB won the contract thanks to the `active lobbying,` the company tried to keep it secret.

In a 1995 letter from ABB to the Department of Energy, the firm requested that the seemingly innocuous one-page letter be withheld from public disclosure.

Regarding this, Rumsfeld shows no reaction so far. However, Fortune reported that someday the Defense Secretary will have to explain about his silence.

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com