President Bush’s appointee to run the controversial commission investigating the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 is a director of an oil company with links to an alleged al Qaeda supporter.
As Fortune magazine reports, former New Jersey governor Thomas Keane, who was appointed by Bush to the post in December after Henry Kissinger resigned under fire, serves on the board of Amerada Hess, a petroleum giant that operates a joint drilling venture in Azerbaijan with Delta Oil, a Saudi Arabian company whose backers include Khalid bin Mahfouz. Mahfouz is married to one of Osama bin Laden’s sisters and is suspected of funding charities linked to al Qaeda. Mahfouz has also had dealings with the Carlyle Group, the secretive defense contractor that employs President Bush’s father as a senior advisor and is backed by Osama bin Laden’s family.
Adding a certain irony to the Kean connection is the fact that Mahfouz is named as a defendant in a lawsuit by the families of Sept. 11 victims. Fortune notes that while Kean may not have been aware of the alleged al Qaeda connections, three weeks before his appointment was announced, his company severed ties with Delta.