NEW YORK – The United Nations (search) has sent a letter to FOX News in response to the special Breaking Point investigation, "United Nations Blood Money," that appeared Feb. 13 on FOX News Channel and on FOXNews.com.
U.N. officials charged that FOX News erred in declaring that "high U.N. officials [were] getting oil handouts from Saddam [Hussein]" as part of the Oil-for-Food (search) program.
Following is the U.N.'s comment, in a letter from Shashi Tharoor, U.N. under-secretary-general for communications and public information:
"Only one UN official — Benon Sevan, the former head of the Office of the Iraq Program — was found to have solicited allocations of oil under the Program. Mr. Volcker is still investigating whether or not Mr. Sevan personally benefited from this activity. Fox fails to inform viewers that as soon as he received Mr. Volcker’s report, the Secretary-General immediately began disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Sevan, who has been suspended and is no longer allowed on UN premises except to summon his defence."
The U.N. mention of "Mr. Volcker" refers to Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, who was tapped by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to lead an investigation into Oil-for-Food. In an interim report released last month, Volcker singled out Sevan for having a serious conflict of interest with regard to the management of Oil-for-Food.
FOX News Senior Vice President John Moody, who received the U.N.'s letter, said "FOX stands by its groundbreaking reporting on this scandal. Mr. Tharoor is correct in pointing out that as of now, only one U.N. official is known to have received oil handouts from Saddam. It is, however, worth noting that the individual in question ran the Oil-for-Food program."