January 22nd, 2009
06:00 PM ET
4 years ago

Questions surround Obama nominee's contractor ties

President Obama's pick for undersecretary of defense has drawn questions about his business ties.

President Obama's pick for undersecretary of defense has drawn questions about his business ties.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The head of the Senate Armed Services committee said Thursday that he needed more information on how the nominee for deputy secretary of defense would handle conflicts of interests in his Pentagon post.

President Obama has nominated William Lynn, an undersecretary of defense during President Clinton's second term, to be deputy to Secretary Robert Gates.

Lynn was a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts. It is is the maker of the Army's Patriot missile system and the Navy's Tomahawk missile and is developing a global positioning satellite communication system for the Air Force.

As deputy secretary, Lynn would be involved in the process of budgeting and acquisitions, in addition to running the day-to-day operations of the Defense Department.

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Filed under: Obama transition • Pentagon
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. BB

    That's what our congress does best – hold everything up.

    January 22, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. Jon in CA

    What?? Someone is ACTUALLY questioning the experience or the background of an Obama nominee??


    How DARE anyone question an Obama appointment. I mean it's not like Obama would nominate someone with a history of failing to pay taxes to be the Treasury Secretary or anything like that.......

    January 22, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  3. LG in Atlanta

    Nope–sounds too fishy!

    January 22, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  4. Pam

    Phillip Bunn January 22nd, 2009 6:42 pm ET
    Hey Sarah. I have a title for you. "If a Moose farts in Alaska, and nobody hears it, does it still make a sound?"
    Hey, Phillip - if YOU fart - does anyone actually care? If you BLOG - does anyone actually care? Sam difference, buddy!

    January 22, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Peter

    campaining is over and reporters should be focus of what Obama is achieving rather than so much of what he is not!!

    January 22, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  6. Proud American

    I support the Presidents so far, but I question this pick. This should never happen it will come back to haunt him.

    January 22, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  7. SANTE

    ha, ha, ha
    The snake oil seller starts to show up!

    January 22, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  8. Jen

    No, of couse not - let's NOT question this. IF Obama wants him, Obama should get him - NO questions asked, right? After all, Obama knows ALL!

    January 22, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  9. Mobius

    You'd think this would be covered under the new ethics rules, but alas, no. Minor change there.

    January 22, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. bern

    This "questions" bs that CNN and Fox run headlines about when the news is slim is really getting old.

    January 22, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. No Incumbents 2010

    LBJ and Brown and Root. Dick Cheney and Halliburton. Lynn and Ratheon. Business as usual.

    January 22, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. Sue

    I bet he handles his conflicts of interest better than Haliburton's best friend, no-bid Cheney. But it's a good question to ask.

    January 22, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. Bob

    NO problem - if Obama wants it, Obama gets it! Never mind the details.

    January 22, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. Sherry N. Calif.

    Geesh! The magic word is no lobbyists! Lynn WAS one but is not now. So what is the big deal?
    Also the same goes for doing the oath over again. He was transparent and used the media. Sorry, Mr. & Ms. Media reporters that some of your feelings were hurt because your type of media was not invited. He has the right to execute whatever type of media he so chooses when he is giving you transparency. Sometimes you will not be let in becacues you are not as PRIVY as you all think you are in people's lives-including the media! Get used to it. I hope he uses "you tube next" How would you like that?

    January 22, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  15. Frank, Dayton, Ohio

    While I fully appreciate President Obama's practice of not abandoning anyone, this is one nomination that he needs to withdraw or pray the nominee steps aside. It is clearly a violation of the president's stated ethical standard that can not be wallpapered over the way Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tried to do.

    January 22, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  16. Jan

    CNN, PLEASE DO AN ARTICLE ON WHAT YOU "DEEM APPROPRIATE" IN POSTING COMMENTS (see below). Please explain why relatively inoccuous comments (albeit NOT pro-Obama) stay "in moderation" for weeks and weeks, while pro-Obama commentators get posted multiple times instantly. As a company utilizing public cyberspace - YOU OWE YOUR READERSHIP THAT MUCH!

    (Comments are moderated by CNN, in accordance with the CNN Comment Policy, and may not appear on this blog until they have been reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting. Also, due to the volume of comments we receive, not all comments will be posted.)

    January 22, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  17. Nick

    What's the big deal? There didn't seem to be a problem regarding Haliburton.

    January 22, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. Ellie


    I know the REPUGS are not nip-picking here. HELLO. They don't EVEN want to go there after the White House was ran like MOBSTER CENTRAL!!!! Get Real...

    January 22, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  19. RealityCheck

    So, what did you expect?....

    Say what you want to convince the people to put you there and do whatever the hell you want!

    There are going to be many disappointed people when the chosen one does not live up to expectations of all the speeches given.

    Business as usual!

    January 22, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. Willy Brown

    Will this be #44 Dick Cheney moment?

    January 22, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  21. Truth Shall Prevail

    @Ellie, I hate to break it to you. But Mobster Politics is aka Chicago Politics.

    This is a bad choice Obama, if you want transparency you need to ensure your appointees are properly vetted or you give Republicans cannon fodder against you. I think you are doing ok so far with your picks, but some are just downright "Palin-esque"

    January 22, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    It is politics as usual with the same good old boy network even under Obama.

    January 22, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  23. Franky

    I gotta say, finding someone legit in Washington is like finding someone who can't admit they have problems...that's funny.

    January 22, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  24. Debbie

    These types of posts need people who understand the industry. There's no problem with hiring people from the industry. They problem is being sure they're ETHICAL people that understand they work for the American people, not the industry. Bush, Inc. never quite learned that. Bush and Cheney created an energy policy behind closed doors using a panel of oil company executives. Funny coincidence that oil companies posted RECORD profits during the Bush years, eh? Further REALLY funny that as the Bush regime came to a close, gas went to $5 a gallon ... just one last rape of the American working stiff before Bush Inc. closed its tent and left town.

    I do hope that these nominees are scrutizined carefully but in a NON-POLITICAL way. There's a difference between vetting someone's credential and playing politics.

    January 22, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  25. Jen

    Ellie January 22nd, 2009 7:42 pm ET
    I know the REPUGS are not nip-picking here. HELLO. They don't EVEN want to go there after the White House was ran like MOBSTER CENTRAL!!!! Get Real…
    Ellie - YOU obviously have NO idea of what YOU are talking about! Please give us just ONE example of how the White House was run like "mobster central." YOU get real!

    Also, it's "nit-picking," not "nip-picking," dear.

    January 22, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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