Former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Bob Gates and former national security adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are enthusiastically backing Donald Trump’s choice of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state.

The ostensible reasons that they gave for their support may not tell the whole story; ExxonMobil is a client of the consulting firm of RiceHadleyGates, where Gates and Rice hold prominent positions.

Gates opined:

He would bring to the position vast knowledge, experience and success in dealing with dozens of governments and leaders in every corner of the world. He is a person of great integrity whose only goal in office would be to protect and advance the interests of the United States.

Gates protested that his involvement with Tillerson preceded their connections through the consulting firm, stating that he met Tillerson "years earlier through our mutual involvement in and leadership of the Boy Scouts of America … I know this Eagle Scout will be a global champion of the best values of our country.”

Rice posted on Facebook:

Rex Tillerson is an excellent choice for Secretary of State. He will bring to the post remarkable and broad international experience; a deep understanding of the global economy; and a belief in America's special role in the world. I know Rex as a successful business man and a patriot. He will represent the interests and the values of the United States with resolve and commitment. And he will lead the exceptional men and women of the State Department with respect and dedication.

Rice is not the only former secretary of state who endorsed Tillerson; MSNBC reported that James Baker, secretary of state for George H.W. Bush, advised Donald Trump to pick Tillerson. Baker’s law firm, Baker Botts, has represented Exxon as well as Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil company that works with Exxon. The U.S. imposed sanctions on Rosneft’s chairman, Igor Sechin. Baker Botts also represents Gazprom, the Russian state gas company.