Investigators Once Again Zero In On Boeing Ethics
Phil Condit may be gone, but he didn't take the storm clouds of
controversy with him when he left Boeing.
Less than a month after Congress gave the Pentagon the money to
complete a deal for 100 aircraft, the Pentagon put the project on
hold, so an internal auditor can look it over. In a letter to Sen.
John Warner (R-VA), Wolfowitz said, "Given the controversy
surrounding the tanker program, "I believe it is prudent to
reassess this matter before proceeding," Wolfowitz said. "The
department remains committed to the recapitalization of our aerial
The investigation centers on two Boeing employees -- the CFO and
a former deputy assistant secretary at the Air Force. A week ago,
the company fired Michael Sears and the vice president -- Darleen
Druyun. An internal Boeing investigation found that, while Druyun
was still at the Pentagon, she was approached by Sears with an
offer to join the company while she was in charge of the Air
Force's contracts with Boeing.
Now, instead of celebrating a deal
that will replace the USAF's 40-year old KC-135 fleet, members of
Congress who support the deal are parsing words, trying to find
some hope that it will still go through.
"It's not dead. It's just delayed," said Rep. Todd Tiahrt,
"The important word in the Wolfowitz letter is pause," said Rep.
Norm Dicks, (D-WA). "It's also appropriate for those who support
this to remind the administration that we need new tankers and that
we should sign this contract as soon as possible."
But one major opponent of the deal, Arizona Republican Senator
John McCain, says the "pause" described by Deputy Defense Secretary
Paul Wolfowitz came just in the nick of time. He says production on
the first of the modified 767 tankers was to have started Dec.
"I am sure that your commitment to a 'pause' in your letter
reflects, not this plan or adherence to a notional delivery
schedule, but a genuine concern for the interests of taxpayers and
a good-faith interest in obtaining a complete and thorough
independent investigation," McCain wrote in a letter to