January 22nd, 2009
06:00 PM ET
11 months 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. Jon in CA

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

    Hey Sue – I can't imagine how shocking it would be for you to learn the truth... that Halliburton's no-bid contract was awarded by William Jefferson Clinton.

    But hey – don't let the FACTS get in the way of your partisanship.

    January 22, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. Suzi

    It's a shame that this would be a problem because he has really important defense experience with weapon systems as well as government expeience as undersecretary. The industry experience would be so valuable I would think it would be difficult to find a well rounded person that didn't hadn't been involved in the weapons industry in some way. The questions will come and decisions will be made. Life goes on.

    The problem with Cheney and Halliburton was the incredible amount of money Halliburton makes on Iraq with little or no oversight. And that they were handpicked on more than one no-bid contract by Bush's executive order, for example Kellog Brown and Root, a subsidiary, who got the contract to put out Iraqi oil well fires. For a long time the report was that the government didn't even know how much money Halliburton was sucking up. If there wasn't abuse, it sure looked like it.

    January 22, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    President Obama has made very good decisions thus far; the goverment is a huge enterprise and so far I'm very impress with him; Mr. Lynn was VP at the place that supplies a lot of the technology for the military; I believe that is a little different than Cheney and his old company (logistics and reconstruction). in any case as Deputy Secretary he is not in charge of the Budget and Secretary Gates is a Republican... I believe the system will work and he is qualified...

    have some common sense...

    January 22, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  4. Ernie in LA

    Peter?? Only report the good things and not the bad? Did they do this to Bush?

    January 22, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  5. Oregon calling

    No more NO BID CONTRACTS!

    Nuff said!

    Peace :-)

    January 22, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  6. Maggie in NY

    Yeah, not that the republicans ever questioned Cheney's involvement with Halliburton prior to them getting that juicy no-bid contract in Iraq. And never mind that KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton (or is it Halliburton, a subsidiary of KBR? Neither one seems to want to admit being the parent corporation), is now going to be investigated for negligent homicide in at least one soldier's electrocution for their shoddy and negligent equipment and maintenance.

    January 22, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  7. AP

    CHANGE we can believe in !!!! What a joke

    January 22, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. Rick Sutter

    Nominate another shady character? Yes he can!

    January 22, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  9. Xavier

    What? I guess that republicans live by the credo of do as I say, not as I do. What a bunch of hypocrites. Can you say Chenney, Halliburton and Iraq? How do this people sleep at night?

    January 22, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. Obama Is Way Better Than Bush

    Who cares, leave Obama alone & let him get to work.Bush surrounds himself with all kinds of "yes" men, Cheney the "dictator ,& lied about WMD's" the last 8 years & the press did'nt utter a peep.The MSM is starting to sound like some wild tabloid these days.

    January 22, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  11. Ignored in GA

    Do these people hide these things in plain sight or what? This is the second pick that should have been vetted out the door. This guy might be the best man for the job, but I'd rather have the second best and not have to question every decision he makes.

    January 22, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  12. yellow dog democrat

    Jon in CA – failing to pay taxes ummm you mean like the GOP hero Joe the Plumber, errr no Joe the media mogul?

    Nobody is god on earth.....Obama is making the best choices he can and everybody wants to yammer yammer yammer – no substance at least the President has substance and is getting things worked out like he said on the campaign trail....things change and he is working with the changes intelligently too bad the usual "bad mouthers" can't shut up long enough to educate themselves (but that probably runs contrary to their raising!)

    January 22, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  13. Time is Running Out

    Can we say "conflict of interest"?

    January 22, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  14. Kay

    The way the Republicans are acting regarding appointments it makes one wonder do they really want to act in a bipartisan way. When the Democrats delayed appointments all hell broke loose during the past administration. Maybe hell should break loose again only in reverse.

    January 22, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. Chris

    What's to question about what Obama does? He's a politician isn't he? Their rules are for 'other' people - like us!

    January 22, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. Pat J

    Ellie January 22nd, 2009 7:42 pm ET
    OH-PULEEEZE……….
    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, would you be kind enough to clarify how the White House was ran like MOBSTER CENTRAL. Thank you so much.

    January 22, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  17. Jeremy

    Here we go again. For the idiots not in aerospace industry you need to learn afew things. There are few companies that do military systems. Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop and so on. Lynn was a Vice-President in the company. For starters was he dealing with the contracts directly – maybe not. The lobbying is done by given departments in the company and bid fo them by giving estimates on costs. For example, the air force tanker deal. As a VP Lynn managing company business but doesnt actively bid- h gives his resources to the company lets say in engineering to make a bid competitive but he doesnt necessarily handle the bidding. Also if he is handling budgetting and operations, he doesnt allocate the contracts since there is another department that handles the contracts and senate can review these contracts if there seems to be a conflict of interest or an unfair bid like in the case of he tanker.
    For all these idiots that huge outcries led by CNN writers, atleast understand the industry before you open your mouth and make us understand how little you know about a given issue.

    January 22, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  18. meelg

    drop this guy, puh-leeze!

    January 22, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  19. Sylvia

    Why does Cable Negativity News (CNN) only has reporters that seem to be attacking President Obama - Campbell Brown, Candy Crowley, Ed Henry, etc? They are always asking, is Obama keeping his promises? Well, he only has been president for 2 days. Anderson Cooper should also refer to him as President Obama instead of Mr. Obama. I never heard any of them refer to Bush as Mr. Bush, but always as President Bush. By the way, why don't you report some other news instead of reporting on President Obama's every move?

    January 22, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  20. give it a rest

    Make the guy sell his stock, ensure any other ties are gone and hire him.

    As for the neo-nazi repubs out there..

    Bush didn't just bring one guy in, he brought them all. Ratheon, Kellogg-Brown and Root, Halliburton .. Which he and tricky Dick Chaney own large shares of stock in, funny how that stock jumped 300% during his term in office..

    Now that he isn;t there to protect them any longer, see how quickly the truth about KBR murdering the young green beret came out..
    Now if we can only get Dick and George on the war crimes charges it might actually allow the world to get back to being peaceful for a change..

    January 22, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  21. tess

    here we go – hold on, the most ethical administration in the history of the world is putting every clinton scumbag in charge of something! i would pay a million dollars (government handout monies) to know what the clintons have on o'bama – someday it will come out – probably when hillary decides it's time to oust him and run again!

    January 22, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  22. DAVE IN CA

    come on people this is just another distraction.... no drama obama had free reign during the election with the press but now that the rubber hit the road looks like the press is actually might start doing its job.... he has set the record for the most questioned appointments i would think... paying back those who donated heavily is starting to it's dirty little head.... dirty picks all the way around

    January 22, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  23. Peter (CA)

    Amazing how nothing Obama can do will make you wingnuts happy.

    This is an issue. It should be an issue and after much thought, I trust Obama to do the right thing.

    Thought....something missing the last 8 years.

    January 22, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  24. D.Tin

    Now did they have these same "concerns" and "questions" about Cheney and Haliburton????

    January 22, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  25. German,Irish American

    Wasn't this going to be the most transparent, pure, lobby free, not even a hint of conflict of interest administration ever? By the way, did anyone see Obama try to give and then explain his first executive order on closing Gitmo without reading from a teleprompter? LMAO, this guy is an absolute disaster without his handlers telling him what to think and say. Seems like every time he opens his mouth and tries to talk and think on his own, the whole media hype on his supposed "intelligence" takes another hit.

    January 22, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
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