White House in Loop on Troubling Iraq Oil Deal

Bush crony's Kurdistan deal undermined Baghdad government
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2008 3:04 AM CDT
A foreign contractor guards an oil drilling facility in the area of Taq Taq, 75 km southeast of the Kurdish city of Arbil in northern Iraq, 14 May 2006.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The State Department was fully aware that a Texas firm linked to President Bush planned to sign a controversial Kurdistan oil deal that undermined the Iraqi government, reports the New York Times. Documents released by a congressional committee yesterday reveal that Hunt Oil—run by a close associate of the president—kept the administration up to date on its plans, which some US officials appeared to welcome.

"Thanks for the heads up," one official wrote. "Getting an American company to sign a deal will make big news back here. Please keep us posted.” The deal, which raised tensions between Kurdistan and the Iraqi government, was counter to official US policy and gave ammunition to critics claiming the invasion of Iraq was motivated by oil concerns. The State Department has denied any involvement in the oil deal.