Skip to main content

tv   QA  CSPAN  April 17, 2016 8:00pm-8:59pm EDT

8:00 pm
breach with the panama papers. campaign appearance by bernie ♪ reporter: this week on "q&a" sally denton "the profiteers as she talks about her book "the which takes a look at the largest engineering and construction companies in the world. sally denton, author of "the profiteers." in your notes section you write this, i was denied access to caspar weinberger's papers. sally denton: i was really shocked about that and it turns out it is not really shocking at all, that a lot of public
8:01 pm
officials who give their papers to the library of congress, with restrictions that keep them from the public for as long as the family wants, and it was the library and of congress that made the arrangement with caspar weinberger's family or maybe with him personally, that they and the suntricted would determine caspar who would be able to view them. i was surprised but i have learned through my friend, that it is a usual thing. that maybe you would put personal papers and a situation like that, what not papers related to your position as secretary of defense or secretary of state. brian lamb: what difference does that make to you in this book? sally denton: i think it would have created a treasure trove of documents for me relating to his
8:02 pm
role as secretary of defense, and i was looking specifically for his relationship, and the sentencing memoranda for the jonathan pollard case. brian lamb: how does that relate to your book? sally denton: jonathan pollard has been spying for israel, as he had,ow know, and among the things he had given 1985,raelis back in evidence of american companies building chemical plants in the middle east for israel's enemies and caspar weinberger became very interested in making sure that pollard did not get an easy sentence. brian lamb: you say the nsa was not helpful or forthcoming?
8:03 pm
actually an: it is economist agency within the department of energy, and it is in charge of the maintenance of the nuclear weapons laboratory, which figures commonly in my book. brian lamb: why? sally denton: bechtel, the company i'm writing about manages most of the nuclear weapons complex at this point. i was focused primarily on lawrence livermore, the weapons lab. brian lamb: bechtel is what? sally denton: bechtel is the first major multinational company from the american west which is why it interested me because i am from the west, fourth generation nevada and and and i grew updan in the town that was their signature project way back in the 1930's.
8:04 pm
bechtel is the quintessential multinational company that is involved in all aspects of construction and engineering throughout the world. brian lamb: how cooperative was bechtel with your project? sally denton: i didn't really, i initially contacted bechtel early on when i was first researching it and they directed me to the company website. i had actually been there before i had it written my book proposal to simon & schuster, so i was familiar with the website, but they directed me to the online press kit, and then when i got -- i found that everything i needed was not only available on the website, but there were three corporate histories that , dating backnsive
8:05 pm
through several generations, so between that i did not really need any more from the corporate spokesperson. media, i did apply for a fellowship at the hoover institute, which is where i had been for my previous two books, specifically with the interest of interviewing both stephen bechtel junior and george shultz , an executive and i was denied that fellowship. brian lamb: why? sally denton: they said it was because my project did not relate closely to any of the scholars there, and i could not imagine a book project that was more relevant to the hoover verytute which is supported, long-standing support from the bechtel family and henry kissinger was also there at the time who had been a bechtel consultant.
8:06 pm
is noted, if this book relevant, i will never write a book that is, apparently. brian lamb: is george shultz still attached to hoover? sally denton: yes. brian lamb: let's go back when he was confirmed in joe biden is in the chair during the confirmation hearing. joe biden: are you going to go back to bechtel? >> i have no plans, have given no thought to what i will do. me tell you why i asked, there have been a number of questions on my colleagues who have done a lot of research on bechtel and its relationship with the arab world and everyone is aware of the saudi policy among whom they deal with, if they deal with the israelis. if in fact you were, some are going to suggest to do that if in fact you are required to take the position in the interest of the united states of america
8:07 pm
that was viewed as being very supportive of israel and against the interest of saudi arabia, that you might very well the reluctant to do so because you would know that that would prevent you from ever being able to resume a position at bechtel. >> oh no. i do not have any such concern in my mind at all. brian lamb: that was 1982. there is a lot in there that i want to ask you about. he became secretary of state until 1989. did he ever go back to bechtel? sally denton: he went immediately back to bechtel and remains there, quite elderly. he went immediately back and was an active participant in the company since then. brian lamb: does that make a difference to you? sally denton: you know, this is not a, i think what the main thrust of this book and what was surprising to me, this is not a
8:08 pm
gotcha story. this company is particularly interesting because it is one of the largest privately owned companies, not the same transparency that other public corporations do. i think that that kind of the weinberger that revolving door has become common so it does not seem unusual anymore. at the time, it was really the beginning of, i would argue that bechtel created the revolving door, that there was never a company more integral with the u.s. government. d mean, the cooling off perio that is standard, it is almost a joke. nobody pays attention anymore. the lines are so blurred, to see
8:09 pm
joe biden, senator biden talking about that at that time, i cannot imagine that even being a discussion these days. it is so rare on capitol hill for someone to question a nominee about his corporate ties. brian lamb: george shultz, secretary of labor, director of office of management and budget, executive vice president at bechtel, president and director of bechtel, secretary of state, director and senior counsel at bechtel. is he still on the board? sally denton: i don't know. another thing relating to the board of directors and shareholders, all of that you have to take it face value because they are not required to file anything with the security exchange commission or shareholder reports.
8:10 pm
what his relationship is or his family's relationship is is not declared. brian lamb: on weinberger, secretary of defense, chairperson of the federal trade commission, vice president of general counsel, secretary of defense. you focus a lot on both weinberger and george shultz in the book. tell us why. sally denton: not really. -- byt think i focus focus a lot on that era, the reagan revolution as it relates to the expansion of bechtel throughout the world, the expansion of the american west as a power center, and so reagan coming, both men, as you have said had been in the next and administration also a california political figure, but the theme of the book beginning with the hoover dam was really the first
8:11 pm
ct, the creation of a public-private development that made california possible, made the american southwest possible. focus on, it is really just a few chapters of that era, but the reagan era for me really represented a shift in economic power to the west. it was the sagebrush rebellion, much of what we see now going on , the impulseundy underneath the surface came to the forefront during the reagan revolution. bechtelto tap executives to come into the cap net was really, i think, newsworthy. brian lamb: before we go on with
8:12 pm
the bechtel story, one time in your life you work for jack anderson. sally denton: i sure did. think, i haved, i some things you said about him, but before i get to that, why did you work for him and when did you work for them? sally denton: i worked for him in 1977 and 1978. i had been with a local newspaper in northern new mexico, and was just starting out in journalism and had had a series of explosive stories about the young women tied to drug conspiracies, and jack brought me to washington as an intern initially and then hired me as a staff reporter. brian lamb: how long did you work for him? sally denton: i think i was there close to two years. after that i went to kentucky. brian lamb: you write, like all great morals, jack anderson had
8:13 pm
feet of clay. businessd into partnerships with nefarious characters, squandered an empire that by all rights belong to the public trust, protected sources were manipulating him, allowed his ego to dictate his judgment and abandoned those who were most devoted to him. sally denton: when i arrived there, he was legendary. most people do not even know who he was. i grew up, my father was a lawyer to the publisher of the las vegas sun for many years, was jackpearson, who anderson's project, he had been it joey involved when mccarthy was taking him on and he was trying to get hank indicted for murder. there was a long-standing relationship between two or pearson, jack anderson, washington merry-go-round column and las vegas, nevada.
8:14 pm
when i arrived here, when i arrived in washington to work for jack, he was in the 1000 newspapers. we had good morning america three days a week, mutual broadcast radio five days a week. it was a wonderful empire and i was just thinking the other day, it was astounding for the interns. we had every week, there would fromge gunnysack mailbags people all of the country saying, you need to come to my town and look at the corruption here, my city council, my county commission, my governor is corrupt. it was so rampant, it was stunning. in the end when i say he squandered it, there was so much talent when i was there. clark mullen health, james , it was awas
8:15 pm
hotbed of journalistic minds when a journalism was respected, on the forefront of investigative reporting, on the heels of watergate. it was really heavy stuff, and jack was unable to really relinquish any control to any of the talent that was there and he was just hanging on and hanging on and ended up losing all of had many of the papers he as syndication fell apart. it was just a sad relinquishment, i thought. brian lamb: i cannot find this one, but it seems i read somewhere where you may have been critical of bob woodward. sally denton: i don't think so. brian lamb: let's go back to the book, "the profiteers." what was the original title? sally denton: the original title
8:16 pm
was but he missed -- behemoth. the whole book change. and myup in boulder city first started exploring this book, i had done a cover story for science and technology magazine on the 75th anniversary of the hoover dam and i left boulder city in 1970 and was going home to visit family, i had not been back. when i started looking at bechtel as a book project, i had no idea they had gone on for five generations and expanded throughout the entire universe, basically doing asteroids. behemoth.t once i got deep into the research, four years of research and writing, once i got deep into the research, there was a quote from the gao about the profiteering, i cannot remove or the exact quote, but never
8:17 pm
before have there been so much money made by so few men at the taxpayer expense, and i thought this was more about profiteering than it is about anyone company. brian lamb: have they ever done anything illegal? sally denton: i don't think so. that is one of the other stunning things, that all of this is legal. [laughter] sally denton: this is what i write, that this is not a biography of this family as a as another thing i found going on, the family was really not interesting. they were interesting for what they represented, not for themselves as characters. aey were representative of larger thrust and philosophy of american business and american politics and american foreign policy. brian lamb: where did stephen bechtel senior fit in all of the bechtels? sally denton: the company starts
8:18 pm
with warren bechtel who was an old-fashioned american western. the hoover dam was really his project, his protege. it was called six companies, but there were actually a companies. this was a huge hoover project, to channel the colorado, the raging colorado river to provide water and irrigation and electricity primarily to southern california. with,l got the contract it companies but they called afterlves, six companies family.ese there was no company in the american west that was big enough to tackle this job. they are arguably -- there was
8:19 pm
arguably not a company in the east. all of these companies came together to put up the money and to get the bid to build this dam. brian lamb: is kaiser the same one that built the car, the hj kaiser automobile? sally denton: i think so and also the panama canal. brian lamb: here is a video of stephen bechtel senior, assuming not alive anymore. sally denton: no. brian lamb: let's watch this. received considerable press, comments about what would happen. i discussed it with my father. father had been talking with his friends in the utah construction company, and i
8:20 pm
believe they approached dad and dad talked with henry kaiser who was a partner. about whether we ought to be interested in the investment or not. we knew it was a big job, an important job, new had to be done well. there was a certain amount of expertise that no one had had before. from that group of people that were there, or some of the strongest men in the construction industry. brian lamb: what was he like and how important was he to the building of the company? sally denton: i think he was really significant in taking the company to the next phase. in fact, all of these generations, five generations of bechtel men and they all do that in their own way. his father, warren, died quite young under mysterious circumstances in moscow in 1933, and stephen senior, it is really
8:21 pm
just even but he names his son stephen, so i designate between senior and junior and others do, too. he is the one after the dam was built, worn did not live to see the -- warren did not see to live the dam built, and when he died there was a struggle for the bechtel family fortune and company, and stephen, the middle son ended up taking charge. it was his relationship with john mccone, who was a college classmate from uc berkeley that really signifies his relationship with john maccallum, who had worked for consolidated steel which provided all of the steel for the hoover dam, a massive contract, as you can imagine, wife,so a relative of his john simpson who was partners firm -- shorter
8:22 pm
schroeder firm in new york. this really launched bechtel from a relatively small, not small but in the american west, huge, but still an american company and launched it into the international intrigue leading into world war ii. ciaecame director of the under john f. kennedy. brian lamb: how long was he there? sally denton: he was not there very long. lbj did keep them on for a short time after the kennedy assassination. brian lamb: was he a republican or a democrat? sally denton: he was a republican, although i do not know if that matters. they had all been forged from this radical reactionary
8:23 pm
anti-communist, russian containment, soviet containment policy that was driving american foreign policy at the time, and he was very representative of that. brian lamb: why did he leave the cia? sally denton: i am not sure why he left the cia. i did not really go into that. at that time, he had broken, not broken, but it was no longer so i did note, shift much into that, until he goes on to be a director for itt coup ininvolved in the chile. brian lamb: did any of the bechtels serve in government? sally denton: no. well, they serve on different think tanks, foreign policy advisement.
8:24 pm
i think the junior was on the executive bank or one of the advisory. they are in and out of advisory positions, not really in government. brian lamb: this is a bit tedious but i want to read a paragraph, not the whole thing, just the people have an understanding of the kind of thanks bechtel has been contracted to do. you say, specializing in what it receives $24s, it billion in new contracts during 2013. it's 55,000 employees, most of whom are subcontractors, are divided into different services. its website lists dozens of signature projects that read like a roundup of every high profile undertaking of the world . the channel tunnel project between britain and france, the court or metrorail in washington
8:25 pm
dc, the bay area rapid transit system, the san francisco-oakland bay bridge. is that the new one? sally denton: no, that is the old one. dig, tipb: the big o'neill's big project, speaker of the house and what happened with that? sally denton: i mean, you know, when i started looking at all of iece ind i decided peac construction magazine yesterday on various projects in the world, i cannot keep up with all of these projects and every sing of one of them is a complete --ry in and of itself -- in every single one of them is a complete story in in of itself. there was a book written recently which delves deeply
8:26 pm
into the project and the kind of things i think are synonymous with bechtel, which is cost overruns, safety violations. the boston globe did a significant expose, must of been there spotlight team, so that was one of the, i just looked at the public record on that, i did not dive into it, delve into it myself. , here isb: the cia video where they had to pay him was $400 million. >> we are here to announce that an agreement has been reached between the united states in the management consultants for the tunnel project which is known as the big dig, as well as several of the big dig designers. the big dig management consultant, bechtel, bechtel
8:27 pm
infrastructure corporation has agreed to pay the united states and the commonwealth over $407 million to resolve criminal and civil liabilities in the defects of the walls of the tip o'neill tunnel. brian lamb: at the time, it was $100 billion plus and you alluded to the fact that octal has the cost -- bechtel has the cost plus contract. the they start that? sally denton: i think bechtel senior and john mccone, that was there creation. , turn a complete project it over and the owner turns it on. that was, again, that is like the revolving door with
8:28 pm
multinational business models throughout the world. i think they were the first company that came up with that, which as you know, you have a contract for a cost in the government guarantees you a percentage of 10% to 30% profit. brian lamb: in your book, you go on to say, the construction of 95 airports throughout the world including hong kong lasrnational, london, doah, vegas. it is built 17,000 miles of tunnels, 30 bridges, 2500 entire communities, including the futuristic saudi arabian city. there any other company in the world as large, construction
8:29 pm
company as bechtel? sally denton: i don't think so. engineering record named it the largest engineering company in the world. it is very difficult to explore sometimes because there are all .f these consortiums one of the spending things again, the book is so full of there was so little litigation. you would think, you just went through the litany of these projects throughout the world, and i kept thinking, well, how come their rivals are not suing them? where are the competitors - here? you would think the courts would be filled with lawsuits and terminations. there finally was one of those. i realize in the midst of this,
8:30 pm
because i am very research intensive, that is the kind of work i do, and this is my eighth fantastic had a fellowship at the library of congress with research access that i have never had before. brian lamb: that was the $50,000 fellowship. did they just get that to you? sally denton: well, it is based on the research project so i had applied for that. brian lamb: when did you get that? sally denton: i was there during the fall of 2014 in spring of 2015. brian lamb: how did you get it? sally denton: i applied through the black mountain institute in las vegas, and there are several writing fellowships there and i had applied for a fellowship which is a $60,000 fellowship at the black mountain institute because i thought that this ic,ld be very nevada-centr
8:31 pm
this book. the director called me and said, i think you may be interested in this fellowship at the library of congress, and i jumped at that opportunity. brian lamb: how did they determine that you were the one? sally denton: i don't know. i know that the library and personally selects bids. he personally selected the fellow, a relationship he had the black mountain institute, which is something harry reid helped get for unlv. it is a fantastic fellowship. , whatwer your question was the question? [laughter] sally denton: researching the different projects throughout extensive,and the the reach of that?
8:32 pm
when i first had applied to the lack mountain, i thought i would be doing my research and nevada and thought it was a real western company, and it was not until i got to the library of congress and started looking at the contracts that it had with the u.s. government that not only is it the largest department of energy contractor, it is one of the top department of defense contractors as well. brian lamb: background, he owned , give $69 tompany the library of congress that helps fund these projects, sold yearsmpany for 4 billion ago. do they have any expectations once they give you that $50,000, can you write anything you want? sally denton: well, you are supposed to write whatever they gave you, it is like the
8:33 pm
guggenheim, you are given it for a particular project. if you, you know, at the thrust of your scholarly approach changes, i am sure that would be fine, but i just know i am still at the black mountain institute at unlv right now and looking at the applications for the fellowship right now, and selecting everyone, and there are a lot, a lot of the fellowships are for fiction, so i'm really focused on the nonfiction ones there. brian lamb: what would octal be today without -- bechtel be today without the united states government? sally denton: they were building dams. warren, the debt, had a couple meals and eight steam shovel, and i think -- and a steam shovel, and i think it is one of the ironies to be so
8:34 pm
antigovernment and your entire fortune you are to the government. brian lamb: how were they antigovernment? sally denton: basically, anti-regulation, let's keep government out of our business, just allow us to do our work. anti--or free-trade candidates. their rhetoric is all about privacy and letting this company do what it thinks is in the best interest of the united states, anti-first amendment, anti-press. brian lamb: how are the anti-first amendment? sally denton: they are anti-any exposure or transparency. brian lamb: would you be transparent if you are a private company like they are? sally denton: no, i think that is the reason they are a private company. i think one of the obvious questions is and you alluded to it, if not bechtel who?
8:35 pm
else is united states going to get to build these projects throughout the world? if the american taxpayer is paying for, it seems the american taxpayer should have some access to information about the contracts, the amount of money, the workers'safety, the political relationships. brian lamb: where is their main headquarters located? sally denton: san francisco. they have offices throughout the world. i just read yesterday the main headquarters for the middle east division is in west virginia. and waseen in maryland recently moved to virginia, so fairly now in west virginia. they have offices all over the world. brian lamb: here is bechtel corporation video and this will
8:36 pm
move the subject over to the middle east so we can get your background on that. >> it was jobs like hoover dam and the bay bridge that taught steve senior to think they. big. in 1940, he built a pipeline and a road through a venezuelan jungle that set the stage for meeting the nations cause for global work during times of crisis. and the 1940's, the bechtel brothers mobilized for world war ii. across frozen, unexplored yukon countries, they built a 16 mile pipeline to get military field to alaska. they built liberty ships, tanks and bases across the pacific. gave saudi prince and model tanker, a harbinger of projects they would soon undertake in saudi arabia. one of the first jobs, the
8:37 pm
trans-arabian pipeline that helped fuel europe's postwar recovery. brian lamb: how much did they make over the pipeline? sally denton: i do not remember what the prophets were, but they were really precedent setting in that this is the first company to really go into the middle east at a time that was just being developed for, if you look at the bechtel company it starts with the, after hoover dam it is the road, the automobile had just been developed in the roads and in a needed roads and got the first government contract to build a highway in california, and then oil, and then they expand more oil for the vehicles , so they are at the forefront of the whole industrialization of america at that time, and it was those relationships that steve bechtel senior developed that came throughout the middle east would go on to not just
8:38 pm
enrich them but to serve a purpose for american expansionism abroad. brian lamb: what else have they done in saudi arabia? sally denton: they built palaces and the entire infrastructure and move from there into kuwait and yemen. basically throughout the middle east, but you know, to me, when i began i started thinking there was a couple quotes about, we were ambassadors with bulldozers and a lot of these countries would say, first comes bechtel and then comes the u.s. ivernment, and initially started thinking, when i started the project, i thought that bechtel was the corporate arm of the u.s. government, a model forged with the hoover dam that overtook the u.s. army corps of engineers and became america's builder, and by the end of the book, generations later, i
8:39 pm
started thinking the government was more like the public policy arm of bechtel than the other way around. didn lamb: what impacted george shultz and weinberger have on getting government contracts? sally denton: i think they ,eighed heavily in influence when you have somebody with that stature, and certainly when you have people like that representing the company abroad conveysign lands, that to the governments in these foreign lands, this company has the full support of the government behind them. brian lamb: here is a man i used to see a lot of in the reagan administration. he was the u.s. aid administrator, building things in the middle east. let's watch this interview we did in the middle east back in 2003. >> we will see an improvement in
8:40 pm
public service that affect the great mass of the iraqi people within the next two months, electricity system, water system, a critical part of what you need in an arid climate and what you need for public service. you have to have electricity and we now have made an agreement to andambassador for bechtel the other contractors we have in year two essentially provide the overall management and the accountability system and the purchase of equipment like generators. brian lamb: i understand he worked for bechtel before he had this job. sally denton: i think he oversaw part of the eight-day project, not -- oversaw part of the big dig project. there was some sort of historical relationship there. brian lamb: did paul grammar work for bechtel bechte?
8:41 pm
sally denton: he obviously oversaw the distribution of the contracts, the major contracts that bechtel got in iraq which turned out to be disastrous, pretty much. brian lamb: why? sally denton: the inspector general's report was devastating toward the results of the iraq reconstruction. brian lamb: were they penalized in any way? sally denton: i don't think they were penalized. , afternd of abandoned losing several employees who had been killed, it was not the andess that they had hoped they did not get the profits they were expecting. also relating to the children's hospital. brian lamb: how many of their contracts with united states government are sole sourced, the
8:42 pm
only ones that compete for and they get it directly? sally denton: you know, i think that is impossible to know. when you are looking at the department of energy and defense , and sources without a bid. all of that is, you have to take them at face value because many thehese projects, because nature of national security, we do not even know, the taxpayer does not even know how much they are for. they have to have classified clearances, and the contractors have to be, have to have their own security clearances and much in just,so shrouded especially now since post-9/11, shrouded in the whole national security realm of mystery and lack of exposure. brian lamb: you know if ellen
8:43 pm
name matt reeves -- you know a fellow named matt reeves of the washington journal? sally denton: i do not know them, that he said my sources, he loves my sources. brian lamb: he did say various left-wing obsessions make regular appearances in "the profiteers." what do you say to that? left-wing obsessions make appearances in "the profiteers." sally denton: i don't know if they are appearances. the, i know he pointed out a factual inaccuracy i , the national security advisor all lower caps when he was part of the staff.
8:44 pm
i actually wrote a letter to the editor and said in the years i was married to roger morris he always referred to himself as a national security advisor in all lower caps so i decided to use the primary source there. brian lamb: you read a book with roger morris? sally denton: i did. brian lamb: when were you married? sally denton: until 1991. brian lamb: he was involved in the kennedy ministration? sally denton: not kennedy, johnson. johnson and eisenhower. e worked for next and -- nixon and left a during the invasion of cambodia, long before i was married to him or was even in washington with jack anderson. brian lamb: bechtel's success been grist for
8:45 pm
observers like miss denton. she is so consumed with tarring bechtel as a military industrial prototype that she never addresses a fundamental question, how does the company function at the ground level? clearly bechtel employees engineers, managers and workers with knowledge and power us -- prowess needed to complete massive projects of intricate design. alas, such people are largely invisible in this corporate, or empire, account. what is your reaction? sally denton: i think he is right. i am really focused on the military-industrial prototypes there, and i think all of the americas should be. i do not agree that i do not
8:46 pm
address the workmanship on the ground. i have several chapters about many of the projects and exactly the kind of, dating back to hoover dam, exactly what the working conditions were all the way up to the massive layoff at the laboratory and the cleanup, the disasters cleanup in washington. i mean, there are many chapters related to exactly what he says i did not address. brian lamb: the lawrence livermore laboratory was controversial kiss of why? -- controversial because of why? sally denton: the laboratory, in most americans do not even know under president george w. bush in 2007, the nuclear weapons complex was privatized and bechtel at the helm
8:47 pm
they got their billion-dollar contract to manage several of -- facilities that i really but i really focus on livermore. these were the crown jewels of the manhattan project, so this is where the bombs are made or being made or were being made, now being modernized. it was always done as a kind of, always managed by the university of california consortium, dating back to oppenheimer, and always part of keeping nuclear weapons out of private industry. effectivelys were privatized by bush with bechtel, they came in and fired 450 people. this was the place i was able to get a little bit of limbo of
8:48 pm
transparency and the company that i had not been able to before, because most of their contracts, their labor relations throughout the world require arbitration, which is effectively a private judicial, i remarked earlier, there was such a lack of litigation company, so, then i realized it is because they are all about arbitration which is private, see do not have the same rules of evidence sherry tairyvery -- evidence discovery. there was an opening for a lawyer in california to file a lost determination lawsuit on behalf of of 140 of them which opened it up for discovery, and that was just a gold mine of information for me. brian lamb: do you have any idea how much the act of family --
8:49 pm
bechtel family has made over the years? sally denton: hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of billions. they report these time to time on their website, but you just have to take them at their word. brian lamb: you have a quote beside each of the bechtels in the front of the book. we spoke of stephen bechtel senior. is stephen bechtel junior alive? sally denton: yes. brian lamb: does he have anything to do with the company? sally denton: he is quite elderly as well. i think he is an advisor to the hoover institute, and i am sure he is well retired. brian lamb: there is no reason for people to hear of us. we are not selling to the public. sally denton: i think that was a quote he gave to newsweek in response for a request for an interview, and so there is no
8:50 pm
reason to give an interview, we are not public. ean, that was so symbolic on how they view themselves as above and beyond the american taxpayer. brian lamb: the next person to run the company, widely bechtel bechtel. sally denton: he step down to his son. brian lamb: we will never be a conglomerate. sally denton: again, under bechtel it became more of a conglomerate than ever with consortiums throughout the world and building on every continent. it is just exhausting just to read the list, which i did in this international construction magazine yesterday, the current projects are just staggering.
8:51 pm
brian lamb: they must do something right. sally denton: well, they must know how to build. brian lamb: brendan bechtel-- sally denton: he is the, you know, maybe he signifies a new generation of sensibility. brian lamb: who is he? sally denton: he is the only son of riley and has taken over the company. froms an education middlebury college, which is unusual for that family which has been pretty conservative. a liberal arts education, and he is young, 30's, and it is a new world. brian lamb: you alluded to this earlier, and here is some video of jonathan pollard who i think when you wrote this originally, he was still in prison. did you have to change it -- change her book?
8:52 pm
sally denton: i knew there was a release coming, or the chances of him being paroled or good, so i had written the paragraph for that purpose. brian lamb: here is some video of him being released. >> after 30 years in prison, and victims by, jonathan pollard will be a free man, sort of. the nasty one-year-old will be placed on five years probation during which he will not be allowed to leave the country. pollard, a former civilian navy intelligence analysts spy for israel during the 1980's and was arrested in 1985 in charge in 1987 with passing secret u.s. documents to the israeli government. has been imprisonment a vote of contention between the united states and israel for decades. his supporters saying the punishment he received was too harsh because israel is a u.s. ally. brian lamb: again, jonathan pollard, how does he play in this book and his relationship to weinberger and the attitude
8:53 pm
of the bechtel people about israel? sally denton: he had, in his own , he had been encouraged, or was inspired to spy for israel. he was working for the office of intelligence and came upon information about chemical weapons plants being built by american companies in syria and went to libya, and he him, werior and told have a treaty with israel. they need to know enemies are getting armed with chemical weapons. told by an officer, as he recounted, the boss laughed and
8:54 pm
said, we cannot tell the jews about this, they are sensitive about gas, which was a reference nazis used the no so it was impetus on his part to begin spying for israel which he did. guilty and was expecting to get a two-year sentence, that was the plea bargain that he had made it with the u.s. government, that when he pled guilty, he was given a life sentence and the justification for that was a sentencing memoranda written by weinberger, secretary of defense. pollard had been in the defense department of the time about the extensive damage that had been what pollard- by gave to the israelis.
8:55 pm
i think the justification was also for the life sentence, was that he had violated his plea agreement by speaking with wolf blitzer who went on to write a book about it. brian lamb: weinberger also, i do not remember it the exact legal details, perched himself and the iran conference but was pardoned by george h.w. bush. what is your take on weinberger's relationship to saudi arabia and also george shultz and saddam hussein? sally denton: you know, there was a time, i think weinberger and george shultz represented a direct shift from the american government more toward a way from israel and the arab state. that was certainly felt by the israelis at the time, and of course the israelis were always
8:56 pm
, dating back to the 1940's, 1950's, 1960's in the era of boycott, and there was always some, a little bit of skepticism that the israelis felt toward bechtel. they were building throughout the middle east, but no projects in israel. brian lamb: do you think after your research, there was a direct connection? sally denton: between? brian lamb: the attitude of caspar weinberger in israel? sally denton: i don't think so. weinberger was rapid on the subject of israel and george statesman,really a and he was going forward with a policy, influencing reagan, but i think they were in locked step with each other. i think caspar weinberger was
8:57 pm
more of a neocon. brian lamb: this is an unfair question to ask, why did george shultz and weinberger not get along? they both worked for bechtel and republican administrations. sally denton: they were very different men in temperament and it just seemed like it was a legendary battle between the two. is a lamb: george shultz very much alive and is 95 years old, will turn 96 at the end of this year. our guest has been sally denton and her book is "the profiteers: bechtel and the men who built the world." thank you very much. sally denton: thank you. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
8:58 pm
♪ transferencer free or to give us your cup -- four free transcripts or to give us your comments, visit q&a.org. these are also available as podcasts. >> bechtel corporation issued a statement in response to this book, our employees consistently deliver our projects collaboratively, ethically come a transparently and responsively for the benefit of our customers and the communities where we work and live. none of this is reflected in which contains," serious errors and misrepresentation. it goes on to say bechtel had no

22 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on