Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Under the radar: Controversial consulting firm tied to Clintons hired 4 star General Odierno, who also got job at largest US bank days after retiring

2/4/16 Update: Four days after I reported that retired General Ray Odierno was hired by Teneo - a firm co-founded by three Clinton allies and which once included former President Bill Clinton as a paid consultant - an article in the New York Times written by Jennifer Steinhauer casually mentioned, "A national security breakout session with Gen. Ray Odierno and others was sobering for many members. As such, defense hawks appear to be gaining ground on the budget hawks in discussions over national security and spending." Did Congressional Republicans at that Baltimore retreat know that the retired general was just hired as a consultant by Teneo?

During last week as Chief of Staff of the US Army, General Odierno criticized presidential candidates Trump and Bush in regards to ISIS

Slipping underneath the radar, four days before Christmas, Teneo - a controversial consulting firm co-founded by former President Clinton's "body man" and two top Hillary Clinton fundraisers, one of which she appointed as US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland - hired General Raymond T. Odierno as a Senior Advisor, and not one media outlet reported on it. Last August, less than a week after retiring from the Army, General Odierno was also hired as a consultant by JP Morgan, the largest bank in the United States.

The four star general who "led over one million servicemen and women as the Chief of Staff of the Army" in the Iraq war effort and other conflicts has joined a firm - secretive about what oil firms it represents - filled with former US government officials who lobby for its clients, sometimes charged with crimes or facing prosecution, and analysts that are constantly quoted in the media arguing against ground troops being sent to combat ISIS, as I've reported. Teneo Intelligence Managing Director Crispin Hawes has even argued that the US government has "demon[ized]" the terror group.

Last July, as noted at Politifact, leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's fourth largest donor between 1999 and 2016 was JPMorgan Chase, which contributed $620,919 to her campaigns. The former Secretary of State under President Barack Obama posed for the photo, published to the left, with General Odierno in 2010.

On December 21, 2015, Teneo Holdings announced, "General Odierno, recognized for his instrumental role in defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq, and having led over one million servicemen and women as the Chief of Staff of the Army, has dedicated his life to serving the United States. Throughout the course of his career, General Odierno has gained remarkable expertise in a wide range of issues, from cybersecurity and risk management, to acquisition and global crisis management."

"General Odierno held the title of Chief of Staff (Chief Executive Officer) of the United States Army from September 2011 to August 2015, advising the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council," Teneo's press release added. "In this role, he was responsible for leading, manning, training, and equipping a work force of over one million military personnel and 250,000 Department of Army civilian employees dispersed across 50 countries, as well as providing military and logistical support for combat and humanitarian support across six continents."
"Over the course of his role as the Chief of Staff, General Odierno worked closely on key international issues with various heads of state, senior foreign diplomats, and military leaders worldwide, and has extensive experience working with, and advising Congress on national and international issues spanning two administrations.

Previous roles served by General Odierno include assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he was the primary military advisor to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.
On August 20, 2015, Sonali Basak and Hugh Son reported for Bloomberg News, "JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank, hired former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno to advise Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon on issues including international risks and cyber security. Odierno, 60, a former four-star general, also will provide counsel to the bank’s board and operating committee and represent the New York-based bank with clients, government representatives and policy makers, the firm said Thursday in a statement."

The article added, "Wall Street firms have recruited government officials and military veterans as they seek to cope with cyber attacks and overseas upheaval. KKR & Co. hired former Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus, another four-star general, to inform investment decisions. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. added Patrick Carroll, formerly of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to help with compliance, while JPMorgan has added former agents after being attacked by hackers."

Reporting for New York Business Journal on August 24, 2015, Michael del Castillo noted that the four star general "will begin his new duties just six weeks after the FBI charged five people for alleged crimes linked to the hacking into JP Morgan’s infrastructure last year."

"On July 21, the Federal Bureau of Investigation charged five people in cases related to the hacking of New York City-based JP Morgan last year. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the men were accused of charges ranging from securities fraud to money laundering, in activities linked to a hack of the bank, curerently valued at $243 billion, last year," del Castillo added. "The general is scheduled to begin his duties on September 1."

In an August 22, 2015 article for Defense News, Andrew Clevenger reported, "Loren Thompson, a defense-industry consultant and analyst with the Lexington Institute, said the most visible, highest-ranking generals typically are in the greatest demand in the private sector."

Thompson told Defense News, "The appeal of retired general officers in the financial community comes down to three things: first of all, broad experience because of their frequent career rotations; discipline, which enables them to be organized and more focused than many people who have never served; and thirdly, prestige...I think you can’t overlook the prestige quality that a former chief of staff of the Army confers on a financial institution or a stock trader. Chief of staff of the Army is a title that grows with celebrity the farther you get from Washington."

"And part of the appeal for the senior officers is the ability to make up for their comparatively low military wages," Clevenger wrote. "Top officers typically make less than $200,000 a year. While this is not an insignificant salary, it does not compare with what someone with their skills and experiences would make in the private sector."

"If you’re a colonel, or a one-star, it may seem like you’re being reasonably paid," Defense-industry consultant Loren Thompson was further quoted. "But when you’re overseeing an entire military service, and you’re only making as much as a member of Congress, it’s easy to imagine that there are other career lines that might be more lucrative."

In its August 20, 2015 press release, America's largest bank, JP Morgan announced, "Additionally, General Odierno will represent JPMorgan Chase through engagement with clients, government officials and policy makers in the U.S. and internationally and will participate in the firm's regional advisory groups in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. He will also advise on the firm's cities initiatives, including the Global Cities Initiative and New Skills at Work, meeting with mayors and other public officials to provide them with expert insight and advice that will help respective metropolitan areas thrive in the global economy and representing the firm in select events and conferences with JPMorgan's partnership organizations."
"General Odierno will also advise on JPMorgan Chase's Military and Veterans Affairs strategy and execution as a member of the Military and Veterans Affairs Advisory Council, engaging on these important issues in public forums and with policy makers. The firm has committed to helping position military members, veterans and their families for success in their post service lives through innovative programs in employment, housing and education. Through June of 2015, JPMorgan Chase had awarded over 800 homes to veterans and their families through nonprofit partners and hired over 9,100 veterans.

'I am proud to announce that General Odierno has joined JPMorgan as a senior advisor,' said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO. 'Ray has dedicated his life to serving our country, rising to the top of the Army with proven leadership that delivers results. His experience, vision and impressive track record of success when confronting overwhelming challenges will provide significant value to our leadership team, the firm and our clients across a wide range of issues.'

General Odierno added, 'I'm excited to work with Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, a leader in the financial industry, and to have the opportunity to contribute to JPMorgan Chase – a globally recognized industry leader.'
In an article titled "Odierno Wades Into GOP Battle Over Iraq War" published on August 12, 2015 at DefenseOne.com, Marcus Weisberger reported, "Gen. Ray Odierno, the U.S. Army’s top officer, pushed back on the Iraq War blame game that has dominated the GOP 2016 presidential campaign trail, saying that the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 was the Bush administration’s plan all along. Odierno, formerly the senior U.S. general in Iraq, said he was unconvinced at the time that the Iraqi parliament would have approved a longer stay for American troops had Obama administration officials successfully negotiated for it."
"The Iraq War has jumped back into headlines recently as Republican candidates attempt to tie the U.S. withdrawal in 2011 — and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in it — to the rise of the Islamic State. In a major national security speech on Tuesday, Jeb Bush criticized Clinton and President Barack Obama for removing U.S. troops from Iraq.

'That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill – and that Iran has exploited to the full as well,' said Bush, a former Florida governor and brother of President George W. Bush.
"So why was the success of the surge followed by a withdrawal from Iraq, leaving not even the residual force that commanders and the joint chiefs knew was necessary?" Jeb Bush asked during his speech at the Reagan Library in California last August. "And where was Secretary of State Clinton in all of this? Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away."

At Huffington Post on August 13, 2015, Matt Ramos wrote, "U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said on Wednesday that Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was wrong to blame the Obama administration for the current instability in Iraq."

The Huffington Post story continued, "Ahead of his official retirement on Friday, Odierno, the former highest-ranking officer in Iraq and one of the architects of the 2007 troop surge there, sought to set the record straight. 'I remind everybody that us leaving at the end of 2011 was negotiated in 2008 by the Bush administration. That was always the plan, we had promised them that we would respect their sovereignty,' Odierno said during his final press conference at the Pentagon."

Reporting for the Wall Street Journal on August 12, 2015, Gordon Lubold wrote, "The Pentagon’s retiring Army chief pushed back on a suggestion by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump that the way to counter Islamic State would be to seize Iraqi oil fields to eliminate one of the group’s biggest sources of revenue."

"Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told reporters Wednesday that he thinks the best way to address Islamic State in the region is to find ways to achieve a 'sustainable outcome' based not only on military but also political and economic approaches," the Wall Street Journal article continued. "Military operations, such as bombing oil fields in Iraq that the militant group uses to draw some of its financial power, doesn’t fit the bill."
"'There are limits to military power,' he said at the Pentagon two days before he retires from the Army after more than 39 years of service, adding that he disagrees with Mr. Trump’s idea. “Right now, I do,” he said. 
Mr. Trump said he would 'bomb the hell out of those oil fields' and then send in big oil companies to rebuild them.

'If I win, I would attack those oil sites that are controlled and owned — they are controlled by ISIS,' Mr. Trump said. 'I wouldn’t send many troops because you won’t need ‘em by the time I’m done,' Mr. Trump said last month. Other military officers have suggested the idea was not a good one and it was not clear that Mr. Trump’s plan was based on any particular military advice or planning.
(Editor's Note: For many more articles on its worldwide ambitions, considerable ties to the Clintons, and reasons why the firm is considered controversial, search for "Teneo" on the top of this blog)

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