Washington, D.C. – The following is a written statement by Keith Ashdown, Vice-President of Policy of Taxpayers for Common Sense on the IG Tanker report:
Taxpayers for Common Sense commends the Inspector General for this comprehensive study of the K-767 Tanker deal, the billion dollar Boeing bailout that has become the biggest military procurement scandal in decades. The 256-page report chronicles how senior Pentagon officials let Boeing play by a different set of procurement rules in attempting to award them this unprecedented sweetheart deal. The report also implicates numerous other military officials and throws cold water on the lone gunman theory that Darleen Druyun is entirely to blame for this mess. If that were true, we could close this case once and for all, but the report suggests that the deal had far deeper roots, and we are now left with more questions than answers.
We now know that at the highest levels of the Pentagon and the White House, the wheels were greased to direct billions in corporate welfare to the Boeing despite there being virtually no evidence that there was an immediate need to replace the current tanker fleet. However, because the names of military officials, Boeing officials and lawmakers were redacted from the report, we still don’t know everyone that was involved. This overzealous use of the Sharpie marker to redact key portions of the report does a disservice to the nation by leaving federal taxpayers in the dark.
It is also disappointing that the Inspector General did not take more time to interview Edward Aldridge. Mr. Aldridge is the most senior official implicated in the tanker hubbub. A few phone calls and certified letters are not enough; Aldridge was in a position to know more than anyone else that has been implicated, and he alone can fill-in some of the remaining information gaps. Taxpayers have lost faith in how the military purchases weapons systems. The concern is that defense contractors run the show and there is no one that is ready to hold them accountable for their actions. This report could have changed that belief. The aggressive redaction of significant portions of the report and the softball interview process spoiled this golden opportunity to eliminate the cloud of controversy surrounding the military’s acquisition process.