By Mark Memmott
The story atop the left side of The New York Times' front page this morning is one that seems likely to generate several days' worth of follow-ups:
"American Adviser To Kurds Stands To Reap Oil Profits," the headline says.
The news: Peter Galbraith, a veteran U.S. diplomat who has been a private adviser to the Kurdish regional government in Iraq, "stands to earn perhaps a hundred million or more dollars as a result of his closeness to the Kurds, his relations with a Norwegian oil company (DNO) and constitutional provisions he helped the Kurds extract."
Galbraith's response? Here's what the Times has:
"What is true is that I undertook business activities that were entirely consistent with my long-held policy views. ... I believe my work with DNO (and other companies) helped create the Kurdistan oil industry which helps provide Kurdistan an economic base for the autonomy its people almost unanimously desire."
"So, while I may have had interests, I see no conflict."
Galbraith also points out that he was acting as a private citizen, not a representative of the U.s. government, when he advised the Kurds.
Galbraith recently was in the news after being fired from his post at the U.N. mission in Afghanistan because, Galbraith says, he had strongly warned about the possibility of fraud and corruption before Afghanistan's ill-fated presidential election in August.
Update at 3:20 p.m. ET: All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block spoke to Galbraith this afternoon for an interview that will air on today's show. He said again that he does not believe he had a conflict of interest, and he said that his views on the situation in Kurdistan have long been public. Here's part of their conversation:
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categories: Foreign News