Lying… Just Not Under Oath

This story from the front page of today’s Washington Post is interesting:

Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force

White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney’s energy task force in 2001 — something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.

The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.

In a joint hearing last week of the Senate Energy and Commerce committees, the chief executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips said their firms did not participate in the 2001 task force.

I wonder if today’s WaPost scoop sheds any light on the following odd detail that some people picked up on (e.g. Kos) during the hearings about recent oil industry profits last week: Republican Senators apparently deviated from practice and did not require the oil executives to swear to tell the truth before their Congressional testimony.

It’s probably coincidence… But it does raise some interesting questions if the two stories are connected, because it suggests the possibility that someone among the Senate Republicans suspected that the oil industry executives were going to have to lie about the Cheney task force…