I’m not prone to spreading conspiracy theories, but the recent story referenced in the post title does inspire a bit of . . . shall we say . . . schadenfreude. I must admit I cringed whenever the previous administration, especially Vice President Cheney, was linked to the Halliburton corporation in a sinister fashion. There’s a lot to be said for privatization of services that can be performed better and less expensively than government bureaucrats, as Halliburton proved. But it was almost as easy as predicting whether Perry Mason might beat Hamilton Burger that someone would connect the dots—real or otherwise—to claim the company received special considerations because Cheney was a former employee.

I’m not the person to provide definitive answers, as I’m no cheerleader for Halliburton.

And neither am I in the back pocket of Google.

Having noted all of that, it seems that Google and the current administration might be a bit cozier than the furnishings in Rob and Laura Petrie’s boudoir. Author Andrew Orlowski admits that he has not yet found a smoking gun, but he notes it’s rather interesting that former Google lobbyist turned Obama administration CTO honcho Andrew McLaughlin was using Google software to share privileged government policy info with his former employer.

And now Beth Noveck, deputy chief technology officer for the open government initiative, narrowly dodged a subpoena attempt by Republicans on the House Oversight Committee. Hmmm.

The plot thickened more than Aunt Bea’s Mt. Pil0t Gumbo when it was revealed that McLaughlin met Free Press Director Ben Scott at a coffee shop. The ironically named Free Press is an advocacy group pushing for increasing government control of the Internet. That is an agenda which Google has supported.

The meeting is hardly the stuff of John Le Carre, perhaps, but it’s also a good deal more significant than Opie sneaking a smoke behind Floyd’s Barbershop: the law requires such meetings be reported.

In all, the relationship between the Obama administration and Google may or may not be kosher, but it already smells worse than Aunt Bea’s “kerosene cucumber” pickles.

Read the entire story here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/23/googleburton/.