Archive for October 6th, 2007


Hillary’s Link To Blackwater

October 6, 2007

I’m not the biggest fan of Hillary Clinton, but I think there should be some caution applied before jumping all over her for this story: BLACKWATERGATE LINKED TO HILL

October 6, 2007 — WASHINGTON – The company run by one of Hillary Clinton‘s top campaign officials has been providing public-relations services for Blackwater – the security firm, accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians, that has come under fire from Congress.

Burson-Marsteller, run by Clinton pollster Mark Penn, has been representing the troubled security firm in the lead-up to congressional testimony this week in which top company officials defended their policies and techniques for providing security in the war zone.

Penn is one of Clinton’s longest-serving and most important advisers, perhaps second only to her husband in influence.

Now, this is coming from the NY Post, so it would be expected that they would run this scoop in full tabloidesque fashion.  It is pretty interesting, I suppose, but I don’t really think that there is much to be made out of this.

First off, Burson-Marsteller is huge.  They have 94 offices globally, from San Juan to Hong Kong.  In other words, if any company were looking for world-class PR services, B-M would certainly be taken into consideration.  Pardon the lame analogy, but this association is like saying that Clinton’s top advisor is president of the largest toilet paper distributor in the world, and they happen to ship Cottonelle to Blackwater’s corporate offices.

Furthermore, it’s highly unlikely that Penn was/is personally involved in the procurement and management of the Blackwater account.   Maybe I’m wrong, but if you look at is horn-tooting bio page…

penn.jpgToday, Mark serves as strategic consultant to several Fortune 500 companies and CEOs on a wide range of image, branding and corporate reputation issues. His client relationships include Ford Motor Company, Merck, Verizon, BP, McDonald’s and Microsoft. He has been a key adviser to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer since 1998, helping Microsoft affect a complete corporate turnaround from anti-trust scandal to Most Trusted Company (Wall Street Journal).

…it’s hard to imagine that a company like Blackwater would make the A-list. The account is probably managed by one of B-M’s 1600 employees.  So, I’m guessing that Penn knew that the company was added to the client list, gave someone a bonus for landing the account, and that’s probably about it.

But let’s see where this goes….