Wall Street Journal story on Richard Perle

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 27 17:03:10 MST 2003


(Published this morning, before he resigned.
One can only wonder what it will take to get
the goods on the rest of his associates, too.)
==================================

March 27, 2003 12:20 a.m. EST
POLITICS AND POLICY

Perle's Conflict Issue Is Shared
By Others on His Defense Panel
By TOM HAMBURGER and DENNIS K. BERMAN
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

WASHINGTON -- Former Pentagon assistant secretary Richard
Perle has been assailed for possible conflicts between his
business interests and chairmanship of a Pentagon advisory
board, but other panel members have potential conflicts,
too.

Mr. Perle has been criticized in recent days following
disclosure that he sought defense-related consulting
business while heading the Defense Policy Board, which
advises the defense secretary on a range of policy and
strategic issues. But business interests of at least nine of
his colleagues also overlap with their board service.

Former Central Intelligence Agency chief James Woolsey is a
senior executive at consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.,
which received $688 million in Pentagon contracts in 2002.
He also is one of three principals in a venture-capital firm
that has been soliciting investment in
homeland-security-related firms. Mr. Woolsey insists none of
the companies he is affiliated with has ever been discussed
at a board meeting, and that he does no lobbying. He said he
was unaware of Mr. Perle's personal financial interests and
wouldn't comment on them.

Another panel member, retired Adm. David Jeremiah, sits on
boards -- one of them advisory -- of five corporations that
received more than $10 billion in Pentagon contracts in
2002, according to a forthcoming report from the Center for
Public Integrity, a Washington watchdog group. Retired Air
Force Gen. Ronald Fogleman sits on the board of five defense
firms that received more than a billion dollars in defense
contracts in 2002. Adm. Jeremiah and Gen. Fogleman didn't
return calls requesting comment.

Panel members must disclose their business interests, but
those disclosures aren't open for public examination. The
potential for conflict in these arrangements is sparking
calls from lawmakers and watchdog groups for government
inquiries and greater disclosure of activities of the
advisory board and its members.

Mr. Woolsey and others on the board reject such complaints.
"I cannot recall a single contractor matter coming before
the boards I sit on. In any case, you don't have
decision-making authority over contracts," the former CIA
director said.

Mr. Woolsey's firm, Paladin Capital Group, and that of Mr.
Perle, Trireme Partners, both solicit investment in
homeland-security concerns.

Mr. Perle also secured a $725,000 fee from Global Crossing
Ltd., a telecommunications firm now operating under
bankruptcy-court protection, that is seeking Pentagon
permission to sell itself to investors in Asia. The Defense
Department has objected to the Global Crossing deal on
national-security grounds because the company would be owned
by a Hong Kong-based concern with ties to China, Hutchison
Whampoa Ltd.

According to documents prepared by Global Crossing to
explain its sale plan to the court, Mr. Perle's total fee is
$725,000. Of that, $600,000 would be paid if the company
obtains approval from the Pentagon. The documents cite Mr.
Perle's defense-board chairmanship as a reason for hiring
him to press its case.

Mr. Perle didn't return calls requesting comment, but a
person close to the transaction said Mr. Perle's primary
role was to identify the deal's national-security issues and
create a plan to address them. "He had the security
credentials to get the investors comfortable" with the
structure that now makes Hutchison a passive investor in the
reorganized Global Crossing, this person said.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is busy and unable to
comment on the matter, said a spokesman, Maj. Ted Wadsworth.

Write to Tom Hamburger at tom.hamburger at wsj.com3 and Dennis
K. Berman at dennis.berman at wsj.com







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