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Rumsfeld Should Dismiss Richard Perle 04/03/2003
 R. Perle
Rumsfeld Should Dismiss Richard Perle
From Pentagon's Defense Policy Board

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

Richard Perle, one of the staunchest opponents of the Armenian Cause in
Washington, lost a considerable amount of his political clout last week when
he was forced to resign from the chairmanship of the Pentagon's Defense
Policy Board, an influential group of experts and former government
officials who have access to classified information and are unpaid advisers
to the defense secretary on military issues. He continues to be, however, a
member of the board.

Perle, who has many friends in the senior ranks of the Bush administration,
was appointed chairman in 2001 by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. His
resignation came "in the wake of disclosures that his business dealings
included a recent meeting with a Saudi arms dealer and a contract to advise
a communications company that is seeking permission from the Defense
Department to be sold to Chinese investors," according to the New York
Times. Perle may have violated a government ethics prohibition against
public officials using their offices for private gain.

Several members of Congress had asked the Pentagon to conduct an
investigation of Perle's business dealings. They had urged Rumsfeld to force
Perle to choose between his job on the Defense Policy Board and his private
business. According to an agreement Perle had signed with Global Crossing,
he was to receive a fat fee of $600,000 in addition to his retainer of
$125,000 if the Pentagon and other government officials were to approve its
sale. After his compensation was made public, Perle reversed himself and in
a sudden display of patriotism announced that he would donate his
compensation from this deal to "the families of American forces killed or
injured in Iraq." Perle needs to shell out much more than that amount to
compensate for the casualties of this war, since he was one of the leading
advocates for the invasion of Iraq. In a recent commentary published by the
Los Angeles Times, Perle was described as "the frothing pit bull of the Bush
administration's dogs of war."

After his resignation for his dealings with Global Crossing, the New York
Times disclosed that Perle was also engaged in advising major American
satellite maker, Loral Space and Communications, as it faced government
accusations that it improperly transferred rocket technology to China,
according to Bush administration officials. Perle refused to disclose how
much he was paid by Loral.

Perle is no stranger to mixing public office with private gain. He has been
involved in many similarly questionable situations in the past. Back in
1987, when he was serving as assistant secretary of defense, the Pentagon's
Office of General Counsel opened an inquiry into whether his attempts to
write a fictional novel based on classified intelligence information were a
conflict of interest. He had been offered a $300,000 advance for the novel.
In response to this inquiry and complaints from members of Congress, Perle
left his post to write the book.

After his resignation in 1987, Perle went to Turkey and negotiated an
$800,000 lobbying contract for International Advisors Inc., a company which
he founded and for which he recruited six former Executive Branch officials.
Last September, the Armenian National Committee of America along with five
other Greek and Kurdish American organizations sent a joint letter to the
Department of Defense's Inspector General Joseph E. Schmitz and General
Counsel William J. Haynes, requesting an inquiry into a conflict of interest
by Perle and Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy,
because of their past dealings with Turkey. According to that letter, Perle
became a consultant to IAI and received $48,000 annually from 1989 to 1994.
One of his dirty little duties was to prevent the passage of the Armenian
Genocide resolution in the U.S. Senate. After the initial $800,000, IAI
received $600,000 annually from 1990 to 1994 to lobby for Turkey. At the
time, Feith was a registered foreign agent for Turkey, and principal for
IAI. As such, he received $60,000 annually and his law firm Feith and Zell
received many hundreds of thousands of dollars from IAI, according to the
joint letter. The six groups asked that Perle and Feith recuse themselves
from any matters dealing with US assistance to Turkey.

It is not enough that Perle has resigned from the chairmanship of the
Defense Policy Board. He still remains a member of that board and as such he
continues to be mired in the same conflicts of interest. He should be
completely removed from the board. After Perle's dismissal, the Congress and
the Pentagon should initiate separate investigations of Douglas Feith, the
under secretary of defense, and Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of
defense, for possible conflict of interest given their prior associations
with Turkey.
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