Pentagon: We’re trying to break “the iron triangle”

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Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is “trying to break that tight bond between” the “iron triangle of Congress and industry and the bureaucracy in” the Pentagon — which the Center highlighted in its story “The Murtha Method” — according to a Defense Department press secretary. The spokesman was reacting to a question about the Center’s investigation at yesterday’s press briefing.

The Center’s article detailed the connections between lawmakers who sit on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, companies that received fiscal year 2008 defense earmarks, campaign contributions, and former congressional staffers-turned-lobbyists for those companies.

Stars and Stripes reporter Kevin Baron gave Geoff Morrell, the Defense Department spokesman, a synopsis of the Center’s report, pointing out that three-quarters of the subcommittee were involved in these kinds of relationships, which are fraught with potential conflicts of interest. Though he said he was unfamiliar with the article, Morrell noted that President Barack Obama and Gates were committed to reforming how the Defense Department buys weapons and to eliminating waste while acting ethically and appropriately.

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