THE BLOG

NYT's Interest in Kazakhstan Deal

01/31/2008 01:18 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In 2007, Don Van Natta Jr. and Jeff Gerth's investigative book on Hillary Clinton was published by Little, Brown and Company, and barely made a wave in the presidential primary debate. Today Van Natta and Jo Becker's story on Bill Clinton and the Kazakhstan nuclear fuels industry was published on the front page of the New York Times, the day of the last Democratic debate before Super Tuesday.

The Natta and Becker story describes a relationship between Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra that I had described last summer, as part of a review of the proposed Kazatomprom acquisition of Westinghouse nuclear technology, with some new details.

The story's front page placement today is impressive. But last summer, when we were opposing the Kazatomprom acquisition of Westinghouse shares and technology, and something could have been done about it, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, the AP and the Wall Street Journal declined to write about the deal. Only Harper's Ken Silverstein and the local Pittsburgh press was interested.

We contacted nearly every presidential candidate (including Clinton, Obama, Dodd, Biden, Edwards, Richardson, etc), and everyone in the Senate and House who is remotely in a position to provide oversight, and there was zero interest in reviewing the Westinghouse deal. Although I was interviewed for today's NYT story, and asked specifically about our efforts to reach out to other candidates and members of Congress, none of this was mentioned.

My October 6, 2007 HuffPo blog on the topic, "The Well-Connected Dictator", discussed the very large cast of characters who have supported the Nazarbayev regime. Bill Richardson, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Dick Cheney, George W. and George H.W. Bush, Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth, German Chancellor Angela Merckel, Ted Turner, Sam Nunn and others as part of the unlikely web of Nazarbayev friends.

If this comes up in the debate tonight, one might also ask Barrack Obama why he did not oppose the deal, which has since been approved, or anyone else why this deal met zero Congressional or news media opposition.