Examining abuses by more than ninety individuals and companies, the reporter who covered the Defense Department for "The Wall Street Journal" during the Reagan years reveals rampant defense industry corruption and its effects on the current administration
Andy Pasztor shows how in the 1980s a new breed of high-priced consultants and influence peddlers rose to prominence and changed the face of the Pentagon. And he illustrates how Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of the Navy John Lehman - through their political agendas and management styles - set the stage for and unwittingly tolerated the criminal activity of others.Indeed, Lehman's assistant secretary, Melvyn Paisley, ran his office like a personal fiefdom, shamelessly pocketing bribes, dividing up a "shopping list" of multibillion-dollar contracts to help his buddies and even steering highly classified radar work to a fledgling firm he and a partner secretly controlled.This shocking look behind the nation's defense spending spree, described by one senator as an eight-year gravy train for contractors, reveals:Payoffs and rigged bids, arranged in elegant hotel suites from Manhattan to London and in the luxurious staterooms of the Queen Elizabeth II, were recorded by FBI surveillance teams and hidden microphones.A "slush fund" of as much as $32 million helped one company lavishly entertain lawmakers and funnel illegal campaign contributions to scores of senators and congressmen. "Members only move if you're doing something for them," the mastermind of the scheme explained. "I understand what they want."Clandestine libraries for bootlegged Pentagon documents were set up at Boeing and other giant firms, while executives exchanged illicit classified material on street corners as matter-of-factly as kids trading baseball cards.Pasztor bases his disturbing account on never-before-disclosed grand jury testimony, wiretap transcripts and interviews with more than 130 people nationwide, from federal prosecutors to Pentagon appointees and convicted felons.