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Thomas E. White

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."

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Thomas E. White retired from the Army in 1990 as a brigadier general, spent the next 11 years as a senior executive at Enron Corporation, and was then sworn in as George W. Bush's Secretary of the Army on May 31, 2001. Amidst allegations of ethical violations and conflicts-of-interest, White was asked to resign by Donald Rumsfeld and left the post April 25, 2003.

White was rebuked by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress for retaining options to purchase Enron stock until eight months after he told the Senate Armed Services Committee he would divest his holdings, was investigated for personal use of military aircraft, charged with improper communications with Enron executives regarding personal stock trades, and accused of engaging in conflict-of-interest deals that favored Enron in Army contracts. White was also called to testify before the Senate on his involvement in the manipulation of California energy prices as head of Enron Energy Services, the Enron division believed to have rigged California’s energy supply and falsified records to inflate profits and cheat investors. [1] [2] [3]

White’s biography on the Army’s website was significantly altered to remove his Enron associations after the Enron scandals became known. [4] The Secretary of the Army biography page is now blank. [5]

Gen. Colin L. Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, picked White in 1989 as his executive assistant. He was Powell's "alter ego," said Harlan Ullman, a retired naval officer and friend of both. "It is a job that requires tremendous political sophistication." [6]

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