Tuesday, June 20, 2006

RUMSFELD INTERVIEWED IN TANKER SCANDAL -- The DOD OIG asked the defense secretary some questions about an air tanker procurement scandal:
The Air Force in 2004 canceled its plan to lease the tankers from the Boeing Co., amid allegations of improper collusion with the company. Former Air Force procurement officer Darleen A. Druyun and one of the interlocutors at Boeing were sent to prison; subsequent investigations showed that Druyun manipulated other large Air Force contracts to benefit military contractors.

After a Senate investigation unearthed evidence that the tanker purchase was viewed inside the Pentagon as a politically tinged bailout for Boeing, Air Force Secretary James G. Roche and his top acquisitions deputy resigned from government. Boeing's chief executive was replaced, and last month the firm agreed to pay $615 million to settle all liability for the tanker scandal and an unrelated impropriety. It was the largest penalty paid by a defense contractor.

But the scandal never tarnished Rumsfeld, and in the previously undisclosed interview, conducted with principal Deputy General Counsel Daniel J. Dell'Orto at his side, the defense secretary makes clear that he does wars, not defense procurement. As a result, he could not recollect details of what subordinates told him about the tanker lease or what he said to them.