Monday, April 28, 2008

Thanks for the Clarification

If you are following the tanker contract controversy you could not have missed the fact that defense expert Loren Thompson put out another issue brief Boeing and the Air Force at War: The Damage Spreads today that was immediately seized upon by the KC-30 team and its supporters to attack Boeing.

After Dr. Thompson's recent statements that there were questions as to the claimed transparency of the selection process and comments that, "It appears that the Air Force's pricing methodology was stacked fairly heavily against the Boeing bid."

We at Tanker War Blog were hoping this new brief would be a bit more even handed and not so heavily favored toward leaked Air Force information that can not be cross-examined.

We have great respect for Dr. Thompson but by continually allowing himself to be a conduit for Air Force leaks he has raised some concerns. Such actions are looking less and less like analysis and more and more like trading exposure for insider information.

As was the case the last time one of these leak briefs was published, we at Tanker War Blog started tallying up the damage by counting the number of articles and papers to report on the brief. While doing so, we came upon the following comments to a blog entry at St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

FROM LOREN THOMPSON / LEXINGTON INSTITUTE: I would like to point out that my issue brief does not question the merit of Boeing’s tanker protest. The Air Force believes the protest is baseless, but I share Boeing’s view that some facets of the tanker selection process are hard to fathom. My main focus in today’s brief is on the stridency of statements from both sides, and how such comments are eroding a relationship between Boeing and the Air Force that has endured for three generations.

Comment by Loren Thompson -- April 28th, 2008 at 6:28 pm

While we are thankful for these comments, and we are glad to hear he shares some of Boeing's skepticism over the selection, they still leave us a bit stunned.

The trouble is that this "clarification", posted in the comments area of the St Louis Today, Blog Zone, Business News, Bizz Buzz section, will go completely unread while the extremely damaging original comments will most likely be omnipresent in the papers tomorrow and uncorrected on the web in perpetuity.

Well that's the way things work in D.C., but if nothing else at least the readers of this blog will know the whole story.

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