'Go Boeing!'

And other impartial e-mails from the Air Force.

Here's a selection of the e-mails recently released by the office of U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The players include James Roche, secretary of the Air Force, who announced his retirement last week; William H. Swanson, Raytheon executive; Bill Bodie, Air Force special assistant; Darlene Druyun, former Air Force acquisitions deputy turned Boeing executive, who is now headed for prison; Marvin Sambur, Air Force weapons acquisitions manager, who announced his resignation recently; Edward "Pete" Aldridge, then-Air Force acquisitions chief; Paul Weaver, Boeing lobbyist; Ken Krieg, Air Force program analyst and evaluation director; and Michael Wynne, acting Pentagon acquisitions chief, who pushed for an Airbus bid on the tanker deal.

May 21, 2002

From: Paul Weaver [Boeing lobbyist]

To: Roche

Mr. Secretary: I just returned on Monday from the Adjutants General's conference in Boise. Great turnout and great support for our Air Force. Gen Kane and Killey briefed them on their meeting with you and all voiced overwhelming approval to help out in AF modernization where ever they can. Led by the TAG from Arizona, who's Phoenix unit flies the oldest KC-135E's, want to start working the Hill for support for the KC-767. They do not want Sen. McCain to hurt the proposal. They want to get out the straight facts on the old E's. I advised them to hold off until a deal is finally cut between the AF and Boeing ... God Bless.

[Response from Roche]

Thanks, Paul. You are correct re KC-767's. Let's wait until we have a deal ...

Aug. 8, 2002:

From: Roche

To: William Swanson [Raytheon executive]

... Privately between us: Go Boeing! The fools in Paris and Berlin [Airbus] never did their homework. And, Ralphie [Ralph Crosby] is the CEO and Chairman of a marketing firm, for that's all there is to EADS, North America [Airbus' parent company] The AF has problems with EADS on a number of levels. The widespread feelings about Crosby in the Air Staff ... will only make their life more difficult. Smiles.

Sept. 4, 2002

From Bodie

To: Roche

Subj: Defense Week Daily [which reported that Airbus tanker offer costs less than Boeing's]

... We don't have to turn the other cheek, you know. I'm ready to tell the truth about Airbus's boom, footprint, and financial shortcoming. But maybe we should sleep on it.

[Response from Roche to Bodie]

No, Sir, save it and blow him away. He admits that they were not technically qualified! And, we keep their record of bribes as our trump card!

Sept. 5, 2002

From: Darleen Druyun [About to leave the AF for Boeing]

To: Roche

Subj: Our friend

I read with disgust the article on Airbus tankers from the new EADS CEO of North America. What BS ... should not have been surprised at the slime ... his day of reckoning will come hopefully.

[Response from Roche]

Oy. I agree. I had hoped you would have stayed and tortured him slowly over the next few years until EADS got rid of him!

Sept. 11, 2002

From: Sambur

To: Roche

Boss: I kicked off the effort to establish a "need" justification for the tankers. Hope to have a conceptual framework ready by the end of the week. Spoke to Robin after the meeting to tell her that the economic justification is not a slam dunk for either position (purchase or lease.). It is more a push and a slight change in the interest rates can flip the analysis. ...

Oct. 9, 2002

From: Druyun

To: Roche and Sambur

Subj: Tanker Leasing

I would like to informally brief Bill Schneider on tanker leasing when he gets back from Germany. I had briefed him during the transition about the idea of leasing as a viable acquisition alternative. He has apparently had a positive conversation with [Defense deputy Paul] Wolfowitz on leasing and is interested in quietly helping us ...

[Response from Roche]

Please do. Thanks much.

Nov. 19-20, 2002

From: Roche

To: Pete Aldridge [then acquisitions chief; with a copy to Bodie]

Subj: 767 Lease

Pete, old Buddy, you have been our strongest supporter on the issue of the lease. I now hear that your staff is telling us that you are weakening. Please don't. Here is some food for thought ... Every time we come forward with something good for the taxpayer, the bureaucrats (including yours) feel that they have to fight it (job security?) ... If we wait, there may not be a 767 line! Hey, can we convert used ones. Here we go again. We can waste money with half measurers that are penny wise and pound foolish ... I can only keep my sanity by remembering Andy's advice to me years ago: "there are limits to the stupidity any one man can prevent."

[Response from Bodie]

Good for you, boss. Aldridge may deny he's been weakening, but the smoke signals are thick ... [Opponents] seem to be pushing a "what's the rush?"' line: buying is cheaper...therefore better...Boeing will still be there, making airplanes ... [And] Airbus could make planes with enough American content if need be. I rebutted all these arguments ...

April 16, 2003

From: Michael Wynne [acting acquisitions chief who pushed for an Airbus bid]

To: Sambur

... If I had some spare change hanging around, I'd give another supplier enough money to make a proposal for this as well. I'm not saying to buy anything other than a proposal. But, I think the leverage from that 'spare change' would be enormous. For Boeing, the risk of losing the US tanker franchise, no matter what our final intent is would be too embarrassing. I know the opposition would be vocal as well, but with the low probability of success, I think paying to prepare is fair...

[Related memo from Wynn to both Roche and Sambur]

Jim, Marv; I've invited Ralph Crosby in for lunch. Ralph is the President [of] EAD's [Airbus] US. I am going to ask him how much a proposal would cost. They came in a couple of weeks ago and offered to build the majority here in America. You are welcome to attend, though, it may be best to let me in my present position do the probing. I will share with you, as I have in the other case, any findings. I'd suggest that this be held quietly, but I did want you to be aware. I am not sure where this will lead, but the benefits of competition may be revealing.

[Response from Roche]

Mike, you must be out of your mind!!! Crosby has lots of baggage, as does Airbus. We won't be happy with your doing this!

May 7, 2003

From: Weaver [Boeing]

To: Roche

Subj: 767 Lease

Mr. Secretary: Rudy just called me and said that Marv Sambur was getting beat up by Mike Wynn[e] again concerning the $125M dollar number per aircraft. Rudy would like to know if he needs to do anything like calling in the big guns to help out. I told him I would query you to get your advice. God bless ...

[Response from Roche]

It's time for the big guns to quash Wynne! Boeing won't accept such a dumb contract form and price, and Wynne needs to "pay" the appropriate price!

June 22-23, 2003

From: Roche

To: Wynne

Subj: FW: KC-767 "Savings" ...

Mike: Ever since Pete left, the bureaucrats who opposed the 767 lease have come out of the woodwork to try to kill it - yet, once again. Mike, I won't sign a letter that makes the case that we shouldn't lease the planes. Ken Krieg's memo attached is a cheap shot, and I'm sure has already been delivered to the enemies of the lease on the Hill. It was a process foul. And Ken needs to be made aware of that BY YOU! I can't control the corporate staff on acquisition issues ... Among other things, they are about to cause us to embarrass SecDef [Don Rumsfeld] who having approved the lease, will now have to explain why his staff is destroying the case for it. I'll do whatever I can to help you, Mike, but it's your job to get the corporate staff under control ... This is the same game they have played for years. They and OMB [Office of Management and Budget] are trying to set the Air Force up to be destroyed by Sen. McCain ... I refuse to wear my flack jacket backwards!

[Wynne's response to Roche]

Jim: Thanks for your note—I see this as an OSD [Office of Secretary of Defense] discipline problem myself. I will be taking it to the Secretary as well—better he hear it from two sources.

[Related memo from Wynne to Krieg]

Ken: ... I have plenty of problems, but being `fragged' didn't seem to be one of them, now I worry. If the SecDef wants to kill this he will, so far not—your note was not helpful to either one of us.

[Krieg's response to Wynne]

Mike: That's not what I intended and I may have used the wrong instrument to communicate my concerns. I just want to get together with you and Jim to make sure you understand what we are worried about.

[Krieg's related memo to Roche]

Jim: Understand from Doc that you are as mad as Mike. I am not trying to walk back anything. I am trying to get the strategy to drive the deal; the deal and contract to set the numbers; the numbers to be reopened in the report without a lot of hype ...

[Roche's response to Krieg]

Kenny, I love you, and you know that. I think you have been had by some members of the famous [acquisitions] staff. You never should have put what you put in writing. It will now be used against me and Don Rumsfeld.

randerson@seattleweekly.com

 
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