Mar. 31, 2005 – The Defense Department announced this week that it would temporarily assume control over the weapons-buying activities of the United States Air Force. The announcement follows two high level resignations by Air Force officials in the past three months and comes in the wake of a high profile scandal involving the illegal funneling of billions of public dollars from the Air Force to the Boeing Corporation. Former Air Force Secretary James Roche stepped down from his post in January, and acting Secretary Peter Teets resigned this month.
In 2003, the nonprofit watchdog Project On Government Oversight (POGO), citing Congressional Bugdet Office documents leaked by Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), reported that Boeing made over $5.7 billion on a shady leasing deal involving tanker planes for the Air Force. In 2004 Darlene Druyun, a former Air Force executive later recruited by Boeing, was convicted on conspiracy charges in deals involving the tankers and other weapons. The Defense Department is currently reviewing at least eight contracts handled by Druyun that "appear to have anomalies in them which warrant further review."
A post-September 11, 2001 letter cited by POGO -- from State Representative Norman Dicks to President Bush -- noted a "unique opportunity to address the problems affecting Boeing" and urged increased contracts with the company, suggesting that Druyun is not the only figure involved in the scandals.