After graduating from Columbia University in 1983, Barack Obama went to work for a firm called Business International Corporation (BIC), a firm that was linked to economic intelligence gathering for the CIA.
For one year, Obama worked as a researcher in BIC's financial services division where he wrote for two BIC publications, Financing Foreign Operations and Business International Money Report, a weekly newsletter.
An informed source has told WMR that Obama's tuition debt at Columbia was paid off by BIC. In addition, WMR has learned that when Obama lived in Indonesia with his mother and his adoptive father Lolo Soetoro, the 20-year-old Obama, who was known as "Barry Soetoro," traveled to Pakistan in 1981 and was hosted by the family of Muhammadmian Soomro, a Pakistani Sindh who became acting President of Pakistan after the resignation of General Pervez Musharraf on August 18, 2008. WMR was told that the Obama/Soetoro trip to Pakistan, ostensibly to go "partridge hunting" with the Soomros, related to unknown CIA business. The covert CIA program to assist the Afghan mujaheddin was already well underway at the time and Pakistan was the major base of operations for the CIA's support. Obama also reportedly traveled to India, again, on unknown business for U.S. intelligence. WMR has been told by knowledgeable sources that Obama has, in the past, traveled on at least three passports: U.S., Indonesian, and British.
BIC also maintained a European subsidiary, Business International S.A., in Geneva.
BIC had long been associated with CIA activities since being founded by Eldridge Haynes, a self-professed liberal Democrat. The BIC headquarters was located at the prestigious address of 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in Manhattan. BIC held a series of off-the-record, no press, meetings between top U.S. business executives and top government officials, including the President, and the Secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury, Commerce, and Labor; the Attorney General, Senate leadership, and the heads of the Export-Import Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.
BIC held international meetings in locations like Brussels and Mexico City. In 1961, a BIC meeting in New Delhi was attended by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Foreign Minister Morarji Desai, who would later become Prime Minister.
One month after Leonid Brezhnev, other Soviet Communist Party officials, and KGB chief Vladimir Seminchastny conspired to overthrow Soviet Communist Party General Secretary and Premier Nikita Khruschchev, Haynes was in Moscow in November 1964 sponsoring a business conference between Khrushchev's successor as Premier, Aleksei Kosygin, and top U.S. businessmen. In the years following the conference, Haynes often crafted together other U.S.-Soviet business meetings and became close to Kosygin. In November 1971, Haynes put together another U.S. businessmans' conference with Kosygin at which Commerce Secretary Maurice Stans was in attendance as President Richard Nixon's personal envoy. The president of BIC at the time was Orville Freeman, a former secretary of agriculture during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Joining Freeman in Moscow were officials of DuPont, IBM, General Electric, Union Carbide, and Westinghouse. The Moscow meeting also dealt with the opening up of Soviet natural gas supplies to the United States.
Haynes resigned as chairman of BIC in 1970 and retired to St. Croix. He remained as chairman until his death of 1976. In St. Croix, Haynes started the Virgin Islands Economic Development Bank.
During the time Obama worked for BIC in 1984, the firm had a full-time analyst tracking events in Nicaragua. The Reagan administration's Iran-contra covert operations would begin in a matter of months from the time Obama went to work for the firm. BIC appeared to have had established business connections with Nicaragua's Sandinista government in order to protect U.S. banking and other business investments in the country.
A business card for a BIC researcher for Europe and the Middle East was obtained by WMR from declassified CIA files.
In 1985, BIC named John Haley as chairman and chief executive officer succeeding Hugh Parker, who was Obama's ultimate boss in 1984. Haley had previously served as deputy chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc. founded by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Although Kissinger endorsed Obama's GOP opponent John McCain in the 2008 election, Obama sought advice from Kissinger during the campaign and later named Kissinger as his special envoy to talk to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
BIC's connections to the CIA were revealed by Haynes' son, Elliott Haynes, who co-founded BIC with his father. Elliott Haynes was quoted in a December 27, 1977, New York Times article, as saying that BIC "provided cover for four CIA employees in various countries between 1955 and 1960." The same article revealed that the CIA had one agent devoted to liaison with the press who worked out of the CIA's Manhattan office.
A BIC Business Executives Report from 1975 and maintained in CIA files describes the 1975 "constitutional coup" against Australian Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam but makes only single reference to CIA culpability in the affair.
WMR has obtained from CIA files, a copy of a BIC corporate brochure from 1975 that lists the officers of the corporation: Edridge Haynes, President; Orville L. Freeman, President; Elliott Haynes, Executive Vice President; William Persen, Senior Vice President; Richard P. Conlon, Vice President; Jose A. Mestre, Vice President; Norman M. Wellen, Vice President and Treasurer; and Robert S. Wright, Vice President. Directors named in the brochure are: Robertson F. Alford, Norfolk, Connecticut; R. Stanton Avery, Chairman, Avery Prodcucts Corp., San Marino, CA.; Atherton Bean, Chairman, International Multifoods, Minneapolis; Ambassador Sol M. Linowitz, Senior Partner, Coudert Brothers, Attorneys, Washington; Lord Pilkington, Chairman, Pilkington Bros., St. Helens, UK; and C. William Verity, President, Armco Steel Corp., Middletown, OH.
Linowitz, who was once chairman of Xerox, was the U.S. diplomat who negotiated the return of the Panama Canal to Panama during the Carter administration. Verity was Secretary of Commerce in the Reagan administration between 1987 and 1989. From 1987 to 1984, Verity chaired the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Trade Economic Council made up of U.S. and Soviet business leaders.
Freeman was, in addition to being secretary of agriculture, a former Governor of Minnesota. Although he is not confirmed as the same Richard P. Conlon who served as a BIC Vice President, Richard P. Conlon was a former journalist for the Duluth Herald & News and the Minneapolis Tribune. Conlon arrived in Washington in 1963 on a congressional fellowship while Freeman was secretary of agriculture. Conlon went on to work as a press assistant to Senator Walter Mondale and he was also close to Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Conlon became the head of the powerful Democratic Study Group in the House of Representatives. Conlon opposed U.S. military assistance to the Nicaraguan contras and the naval presence in the Persian Gulf ordered by President Reagan as violations of the War Powers Act. On June 19, 1988, Conlon died in a boating accident in the Chesapeake Bay. He was knocked overboard and his body was not discovered until four days later. Chesapeake boating accidents had already claimed the life of CIA clandestine officer John Paisley in 1978 and would later claim the lives of former CIA director William Colby and Dick Cheney friend and Export-Import Bank chief and Assistant NATO Secretary General Philip Merrill.
The BIC brochure describes the firm's Global Program, which included five elements: the Corporate Headquarters Program operating from New York in conjunction with centers in Washington, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Geneva, and Tokyo; the European Regional Program operated by Business International, S.A. in Geneva; the Latin American Regional Program operated out of Geneva; the Asia-Pacific Regional Program operated out of Tokyo and Hong Kong; and the East European Service operated out of Geneva and Vienna.
BIC offices were located, in addition to New York, in Chicago (1 IBM Plaza), Geneva (12-14 chemin Rieu), Hong Kong (201 Asian House), Montevideo, Uruguay (Gallerias Diri), San Francisco (600 California Street), Tokyo (Pola Aoyama Building), Vienna (Prinz-Eugenstrasse 4), Washington (1625 Eye Street, NW), Buenos Aires (Cia. de Asesores Latinoamericanos S.A.), Bombay, London, Mexico City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Sydney. There were also BIC "correspondents" in 50 other cities around the world.
BIC also became involved in tracking terrorist and security threats to air passengers, especially after the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847 to Beirut while the plane was en route from Athens to Rome. BIC described Athens and Beirut as the world's most dangerous airports, followed by Karachi, New Delhi, Manila, Tehran, Tripoli (Libya), Conakry (Guinea), Lagos, and Yaounde (Cameroon).
In 1986, BIC was bought by the Economist Group in London and its operations were merged with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). There have been a number of reports that the EIU works as closely with Britain's MI-6 intelligence service as BIC once worked with or for the CIA. One of BIC's directors was the late Lord Pilkington, who was also a director of the Bank of England.
Obama's work for a company having ties to the CIA barely registered a blip on the 2008 presidential campaign radar screen. At the very least, Obama helped in providing economic intelligence to the CIA as a contract employee. At most, Obama was, like previous BIC employees who operated abroad for the CIA, a full-fledged non-official cover (NOC) agent. Since President Obama has backpedaled on CIA renditions and torture, as well as warrantless electronic surveillance by U.S. intelligence, he owes the American people a full explanation of the circumstances behind his being hired by BIC, what his job actually entailed, and whether he continued to have a relationship with BIC or any other CIA operation while attending Harvard Law School and thereafter.....