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Air Force Official Is Cleared in Tanker Deal

From Reuters

The Air Force’s chief acquisition official said Thursday that he had been cleared of wrongdoing after an investigation of his e-mails tied to a stalled $23.5-billion plan to acquire Boeing Co. KC-767 tanker aircraft.

The official, Marvin Sambur, was once the immediate boss of Darleen Druyun, who has admitted improperly steering billions of dollars of Air Force contracts to Chicago-based Boeing before joining the company as a $250,000-a-year vice president in January 2003.

The Pentagon’s inspector general, Joseph Schmitz, “notified me that there was no evidence of wrongdoing in my e-mails,” said Sambur, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition.

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“They cleared me in that there was nothing improper or illegal with respect to my e-mail communications with Boeing on the tanker negotiations,” he said.

Sambur is a former president and chief executive of ITT Defense who oversees the Air Force’s $37-billion procurement budget.

He was a strong proponent of leasing and buying modified 100 Boeing 767s as aerial refueling planes before Congress derailed the deal in the fallout from Druyun’s disclosures.

Druyun was sentenced to nine months in federal prison last month for conspiracy to violate conflict-of-interest laws by negotiating her new job with Boeing while overseeing Boeing’s Air Force contracts.

Separately, White House officials last month asked the Justice Department to probe possible tanker-related conflict of interest involving Air Force Secretary James G. Roche and Robin Cleveland, an associate director at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Congress was informed Wednesday that he had been cleared, Sambur said. A spokesman for Schmitz did not return a call seeking details.


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