Authorities investigating allegations of fraud in the Pentagon’s weapons-buying contracts have videotapes of consultants allegedly bribing Pentagon officials, NBC News reported Friday, the same day a Senate committee considered suspending payments to contractors under investigation.
The officials in the videotapes are Victor Cohen, a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force, and James E. Gaines, a deputy assistant secretary of the Navy, NBC reported, citing unidentified sources for the information.
Both Cohen and Gaines have been reassigned temporarily since their offices were searched by authorities last week and the investigation became public.
The consultants on the videotapes include Melvyn R. Paisley, the network reported. Paisley is a former assistant secretary of the Navy whose office also was searched by federal authorities last week.
The investigation focuses on whether private consultants, many of them former defense officials, bribed Pentagon workers for inside information and then sold the details to contractors. The secret information could have given the recipients the advantage in winning contracts worth billions of dollars.
Paisley’s attorney, E. Lawrence Barcella, denounced the officials who spoke to NBC, saying: “If they want to try a case about leaking government information, they should stop leaking information.”
Michael Schatzow, the attorney for Gaines, refused to comment on the report.