- Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and
other Air Force intelligence agents rifle through and tamper with files
of retiring veteran Pentagon budget analyst and whistleblower.
- Veteran Pentagon budget analyst Ernie Fitzgerald, who
has battled every administration from Lyndon Johnson's to George W. Bush's
for cost-overruns and other illegal and questionable spending and contracting
practices, is set to retire next month.
- However, that impending event has spurred the Air Force
to seal Fitzgerald's classified files and attempt to purge his unclassified
files of embarrassing revelations about wasteful weapons systems ranging
from the Boeing C-17 Air Force cargo plane to the Boeing air refueling
tanker deal. The Air Force tanker deal resulted in principal deputy assistant
secretary of the Air Force for acquisition and management Darleen Druyun
being convicted and jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to an
illegal conflict of interest after she joined Boeing upon retirement from
the Air Force. Druyun helped Boeing win the tanker contract while
she was still an Air Force official. Druyun was considered the "Godmother
of the C-17."
- Fitzgerald's actual title is management systems deputy,
Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management
and Comptroller. In 1973, President Richard Nixon fired Fitzgerald for
his revelations that Lockheed's C-5A cargo plane was a waste of money.
Fitzgerald successfully sued to get his old job back along with a major
financial settlement, part of which helped start the Fund for Constitutional
Government, a fund that has financed many investigative journalists, including
this editor. Most people primarily remember Fitzgerald for calling the
Pentagon out for its ludicrous cost overruns, including $500 toilet seats
for Air Force cargo planes. Fitzgerald is the author of The High Priests
of Waste and The Pentagonists. Revelations by Fitzgerald about Pentagon
boondoggles helped prompt the late Senator William Proxmire (Dem-Wisconsin)
to issue his annual "Golden Fleece" awards for government rip-offs
of the American taxpayers.
- There are a lot of defense contractors who would clearly
like to see Fitzgerald's voluminous, revealing, and embarrassing records
deep-sixed. During the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, a team
of U.S. Air Force OSI and Air Force intelligence officers, led by Col.
Linda Smith, descended upon Fitzgerald's office to go through the decades
worth of procurement and contract documents and files.
- Bush administration rummaging through Pentagon whistleblower
Ernie Fitzgerald's Pentagon procurement and fraud files prior to his retirement.
The files may not see the light of day at the National Archives
- Earlier, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) had been assured
that the unclassified files would be made available to the general public
at the National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland. However, it
seems the Air Force may have other plans for the files, which include 8-9
banker's boxes on the C-17 and one box of documents on the dealings of
Richard Carver, an Undersecretary of the Air Force under Ronald Reagan
and former GOP Mayor of Peoria with whom Fitzgerald tangled incessantly
over issues of fraud, waste, and abuse. Other files deal with Lockheed-Martin's
questionable C-130J transport plane. There is also a push in Congress
to have funding restored for the C-17.
- What does the Bush administration have planned for decades
worth of files on Defense Department and contractor fraud, waste, and abuse?
- Carver is now the board president for the secretive and
cultish Fellowship Foundation, a consortium of rich Christian evangelicals
headquartered in Arlington, Virginia that uses Jesus Christ as a tax dodging
advertising logo and entree into the upper echelons of the U.S. and foreign
governments for the purpose of lobbying for big business, particularly
the defense industry.
- Fitzgerald's decades worth of documents could prove embarrassing
to a number of defense contractors, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the National Archives official put in charge
of handling Fitzgerald's files was also on an Air Force procurement team
that Fitzgerald earlier investigated for fraudulent and wasteful practices.