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Torture Lawyer Lands at Chevron

From Guantanamo Bay to San Ramon

It may be news to some Bay Area readers that the Pentagon's former chief lawyer, currently on the hot seat over the Bush administration's interrogation policies, now works for San Ramon-based Chevron Corp.

The affiliation was mentioned in passing in an AP story in yesterday's Chronicle, 'Harsh U.S. interrogations worried military lawyers.'

Unworried, it seems was the Pentagon's then-general counsel William J.Haynes II, who sought the help of military psychologists early on to devise the more aggressive methods -- which included the use of dogs, making a detainee stand for long periods of time and forced nudity.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's approval of such methods, which contravened the Army's Field Manual (and the Geneva Conventions) was based on a recommendation from Haynes.

Haynes resigned from his Pentagon post in February, and -- voila! -- two days after his resignation, he was named chief corporate counsel for Chevron.

Few at the time noticed, as Law.com explained:

When a company recruits a prominent government official, it's usually eager to put the word out immediately. But Chevron Corp. took more than a month to publicly confirm that it had hired William "Jim" Haynes II, the controversial former general counsel of the Pentagon. Chevron officials say that they didn't make a big deal of Haynes' hiring because they didn't think it was newsworthy.

Law.com quoted a Chevron spokesman as saying that while the company is "aware that there are peripheral issues surrounding Jim, they have not been a focus for us."

Maybe there's a little more "focus" now.

This week Haynes, reportedly an administration ally of Vice President Dick Cheney, testified on his role in the interrogation issue before the Senate Armed Services committee. It was probably not a very comfortable experience, for Haynes or for Chevron. When Haynes avowed that he was merely an advisor not a decision maker on the interrogation policies, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., snapped back:

"You did a disservice to the soldiers of this nation. You empowered them to violate basic conditions which every soldier respects -- the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, the Geneva Convention. You degraded the integrity of the United States military."

So what attracted Chevron to Haynes in the first place? Chevron's former general counsel, Charles James, who spent time with Haynes when they both worked for the Bush administration, told Law.com back in April:

"I've known Jim since we both served in the administration and have always respected his world-class legal talent. I expect that Chevron will benefit from his legal skills, professional maturity and judgment."

(Try searching for William "Jim" Haynes II on Chevron's web site.)

Posted By: Andrew S Ross (Email) | June 18 2008 at 11:47 AM


Printed from the East Bay Express Web site:

Chevron Lawyer William Haynes Ducks Senate's Torture Questions

June 19, 2008

William Haynes II is a senior lawyer in Chevron's general counsel office. But up until a few months ago, he was the Pentagon lawyer who helped authorize and craft a policy of torturing people detained by the American military. Yesterday, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee called him in to testify about when and how he approved the use of dogs, nudity, and other techniques during interrogations. And wouldn't you know it, one of the sharpest legal minds in the country suddenly can't remember a thing! According to the WaPo's Dana Milbank, Haynes gave the following answers to questions from the public's elected representatives:

"I don't recall seeing this memorandum before and I'm not even sure this is one I've seen before. . . . I don't recall seeing this memorandum and I don't recall specific objections of this nature. . . . Well, I don't recall seeing this document, either. . . . I don't recall specific concerns. . . . I don't recall these and I don't recall seeing these memoranda. . . . I can't even read this document, but I don't remember seeing it. . . . I don't recall that specifically. . . . I don't remember doing that. . . . I don't recall seeing these things."

"It was an impressive performance, to be sure," Milbank marveled. "But let's see him try to do that with a hood over his head, standing on a crate with wires attached to his arms." Chris Thompson