Behind the scenes of the gladiatorial battle that will take place between Paul Wolfowitz and the World Bank Board today are efforts by his lawyer, Robert Bennett, and the Bank staff to negotiate terms of Wolfowitz’s departure.
According to some insiders, Wolfowitz wants “some acknowledgment” of the Bank Board’s complicity in the messy circumstances surrounding his and Shaha Riza’s situation.
Secondly, allegedly on June 1st, Wolfowitz becomes eligible for some large financial bonus — for performance and time on the job. One estimate puts this figure at about $400,000. Wolfowitz wants to make sure those funds are credited to his private bank account before saying farewell to an institution that has come to despise him.
Both sides have threatened each other with slow, painful, drip-drip approach to the release of damaging information that each side has about the other.
One blast in the battle are revelations that it costs the Bank a whopping $5 million per year to pay for Wolfowitz’s security detail. Others have told me of Wolfowitz’s failure to discipline aide Kevin Kellems for equally whopping violations of Bank protocol — particularly while traveling on Bank business.
Wolfowitz is angry at the Bank at all those other than his closest spear-carriers. At one level, he does not want to resign and wants to tear the World Bank apart by forcing escalation in this war. But others — particularly Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson — have made it clear behind the scenes that a negotiated outcome that saves some face for Wolfowitz will give all sides an opportunity to push what one Paulson insider calls “the reset button.”
— Steve Clemons