Barak leaves Arco's advisory board

Published 19 June 2007

Running for office: Hillary Clinton liquidates investements held in a blind trust, and Ehud Barak resigns from boards of homeland security companies

There are second acts in politics, after all. In evidence: Ehud Barak. This former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff (1991-95) — and medal for medal, the most decorated soldier in Israel’s history — served as prime minister of Israel from 1999 until 2001, when he lost in a landslide to another former general, Ariel Sharon. He left politics and proceeded to make a lot of money in consulting and representing defense and homeland security companies. One of the products he energetically represented in the immediate aftermath of 9/11: A long, flexible escape chute, or “sleeve,” which would be attached, folded, to the external frame of a window — even on the upper floors of a high-rise building. In case of fire, office workers or residents would push a button, unfurl the sleeve, and jump into it. The sleeve is made of soft yet resilient and fire-proof materials. Its “J” shape would cushion the jumpers’ descent so they arrive safely on the ground.

The fact that he made a lot of money since leaving office was used against him in the primaries of the Labor Party, but he won the party’s chairmanship and yesterday was sworn in as Israel’s new defense minister. It is only a question of time, and not that much time at that, before he will try again for the prime minister post.

Just as Senator Hillary Clinton, as part of her run for the presidency, has just liquidated invesetments she and Bill Clinton held in a blind trust, Barak is now resigning from various boards and advisory boards of homeland security companies. The latest board he leaves is that of Arco, a developer of the Peroxide Explosives Tester (ACRO-P.E.T.), which airport screeners find effective against TATP and other peroxide based IEDs. Peroxide-based explosives are nearly impossible to identify, since they do not contain nitro groups and are colorless.

The company, which is based in Caesarea, Israel, and has offices in New York, said yesterday that Barak was leaving its advisory board, which he joined in April 2006. Gadi Aner, Acro chairman and CEO said that “We were very pleased to have Mr. Barak on our advisory board. We thank him for his faith in Acro, and wish him a lot success in his role as Israel’s minister of defense.”