McCain Transition Leader Helped Saddam Lobbyist Team

Republican presidential candidate John McCain obviously isn’t screening his staff and campaign cohorts.

Never mind the fact that his vice-presidential pick, Sarah Palin, was under an ethics investigation when he tapped her.

There’s now a much, much bigger fish to fry: William Timmons, the lobbyist McCain picked to head his potential presidential transition team.

What’s the problem? Timmons worked with two other lobbyists who worked for former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Um, yeah…

During [a five-year period] beginning in 1992, Timmons worked closely with the two lobbyists, Samir Vincent and Tongsun Park, on a previously unreported prospective deal with the Iraqis in which they hoped to be awarded a contract to purchase and resell Iraqi oil. Timmons, Vincent, and Park stood to share at least $45 million if the business deal went through.

Timmons’ activities occurred in the years following the first Gulf War, when Washington considered Iraq to be a rogue enemy state and a sponsor of terrorism. His dealings on behalf of the deceased Iraqi leader stand in stark contrast to the views his current employer held at the time.

John McCain strongly supported the 1991 military action against Iraq, and as recently as Sunday described Saddam Hussein as a one-time menace to the region who had “stated categorically that he would acquire weapons of mass destruction, and he would use them wherever he could.”

In case you’re wondering, Timmons claims he didn’t know what his pals were up to, but then later told federal investigators that, yes, he did.