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Rummy’s Secret Hand 

Thursday, May 15 2003
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Donald Rumsfeld is an outspoken adversary of North Korea. But he’s not saying much about his involvement with a company that provided nuclear reactors to North Korea. Not even in his quaintly open, uninformative way.

Last month, Fortune magazine reported that Rumsfeld may have helped North Korea develop its nuclear prowess when he sat on the board of Asea Brown Boveri (ABB), a Zurich-based engineering giant, in 2000.

Rumsfeld has never said whether he knew the company was bidding for a nuclear contract. ABB spokesman Bjoern Edlund told Fortune that “board members were informed about this project.” A former board member told the magazine that Rumsfeld’s job was to lobby his pals in Washington on the firm’s behalf. Other company officials said there was no chance that Rumsfeld, who was earning $190,000 a year for his trouble, could be oblivious about such a high-profile project.

The $200 million contract, the fruit of a 1994 deal between the U.S. and Pyongyang, supplied North Korea with the know-how to build two light-water nuclear reactors in return for Korea’s dropping its budding nuclear-weapons program. The deal was part of President Clinton’s policy of persuading the North Korean regime to play nice with the U.S through diplomacy and negotiation.

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Now, of course, Rumsfeld regards North Korea as part of the “axis of evil” alongside Iraq and Iran.

Shed some light on your journey, Rummy.

Reach the writer at cpelisek@laweekly.com

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