Dressed in humble prison khakis, the former treasurer of Enron [Ben Glisan Jr.] told a jury Wednesday that one of the most lucrative and intellectually stimulating things about working at Enron was creatively hiding its long-running and deep-seated economic woes from investors.
Glisan told defense attorney Tom Hagemann that he doesn't think he worked at one of America's finest companies but rather at an energy company where aggressiveness fostered both pride and escalating corruption.
In calm, confident tones, Glisan described a workplace tolerant, if not encouraging, of systematic deception.
"The company had long-running, very deep and difficult" economic issues, said Glisan, a former CPA with a master's degree from the University of Texas. But, he said, one of the joys of working there was solving the extremely difficult problems that came with "masking those issues."
"I felt it was my job to help Enron look stronger than it was," said Glisan, who is scheduled to continue on cross-examination today.
He said meeting earnings targets was the name of the game at Enron and one of his jobs was to run a team that devised transactions that "helped Enron lie about the health of the company." Inflating earnings and hiding debt, he said, garnered big individual bonuses.
To Enron's senior management, not only is lying a creative and lucrative act — it's intellectually stimulating. Systematic deception was "one of the joys of working there."
This explanation reveals the evil genius of co-conspirator Dick Cheney in the fewest words possible. After all, these were the same people he selected to secretly write US energy policy in the earliest months of his administration, in meetings whose minutes he has steadfastly refused to make public. To Cheney, systematic deception is intellectually stimulating, one of the joys of working the White House.