Wednesday, June 08, 2005

More on the Boeing Bailout

As a follow-up to my post from yesterday regarding the Pentagon inspector general's scathing report on the Boeing lease deal, I want to pass along this story from today's Washington Post. Mike Allen reports that at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday when the inspector general handed over the report, senators requested more information be made public and seemed "incredulous" at times over elements of the findings.

Joseph Schmitz, the inspector general, told the committee that he hadn't included any testimony from either Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld or his former deputy Paul Wolfowitz, because "Generally speaking, we interviewed them and we did not find anything relevant ...". According to the Chicago Tribune, committee chairman John Warner responded "in a surprised tone": "You found nothing in your interviews with the secretary of defense and the deputy secretary of defense that was relevant to this report?"

That does seem strange, doesn't it?

Warner, McCain and others also expressed surprise that Schmitz and his staff had not compelled testimony from Edward C. 'Pete' Aldridge Jr., the Pentagon's former top procurement officer who approved the deal. Aldridge now works for Lockheed Martin, and did not respond to Schmitz' requests for information. Committee members suggested they might subpoena testimony from Aldridge.

Senator McCain, a Navy brat from birth whose father and grandfather held top positions in the military command structure, said yesterday that he thought it "disturbing to find so much uniformed involvement in this issue" as he was "brought up that people in uniform stayed out of politics."

Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services panel, noted the high number of redactions dealing with White House involvement in the mess. "Critical gaps in this report have placed a cloud over it - indeed, over the inspector general's office. ... There is no legal authority that would conceivably justify the redaction of this material from the report."

Thankfully, we have strong bipartisan support from leading members of the Senate, from Warner to Levin to McCain and beyond, to continue this investigation and really get to the bottom of it. Aldridge should be subpoened, and the Armed Services Committee should urge the Administration in the strongest possible terms to release the unredacted version of the report so that the truth can come out. It's a basic rule of Washington: if there's a coverup, it's always worse than the original transgression.


At 11:15 AM, Blogger Heiuan said...

You know, stuff like this just seems to be coming out of the woodwork now. All the "secret files" and redacted information on official transcripts.

To this average American it simply screams "cover-up" even if it really isn't one.

Its my opinion that Mr. Bush would be having a great deal less problems trying to implement his policies if he just had more transparency in his operations.

This running of the government like it was a special "George's Private Club, no non-members allowed" has risen up to bite the administration.

From the energy commission meetings all the way to this latest mess, it has proved to be fairly disastrous from a PR stand.

I'm just an average Jane. I don't need to know what all the secrets are. But, there are people who do. And our legislators who head these committees should be able to get a clear, unimpeded look at documents and reports that need to be taken into consideration to make their decisions.

Again, transparency and a need-to-know. These committee heads don't need to be involved on a daily basis with everything that goes on, but they should be able to stick their heads in the doorways to see who's who and what's up. They shouldn't have to open up a door just to find the entryway has been bricked over.


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