Thursday, March 27
Top Rumsfeld adviser resigns over ethics
By Pamela Hess, UPI Pentagon Correspondent, March 27, 2003
WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- A top adviser to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and one of the intellectual architects of the war with Iraq resigned his post Thursday amid an ethics controversy.
Richard Perle resigned his chairmanship of the Defense Policy Board but is remaining a member of the board, according to the Pentagon.
"With our nation at war and American troops risking their lives to protect our freedom and liberate Iraq, I am dismayed that your valuable time, and that of others in the Department of Defense and the administration might be burdened by the controversy surrounding my chairmanship of the Defense Policy Board," Perle wrote in a letter Wednesday to Rumsfeld.
Perle, one of George W. Bush's foreign policy advisers during the 2000 presidential campaign, was hired last week by the bankrupt Global Crossing telecommunications company to help it restructure a deal to sell a majority holding in the company to Hutchison Telecommunications and government-run Singapore Technologies Telemedia. The United States government -- particularly the Defense Department and the FBI -- has national security concerns about the deal, according to The New York Times. It would put Global Crossing's fiber optics network -- which the military uses -- under Chinese ownership.
The newspaper wrote about the deal Friday, an article Perle disputed in a 10-point statement issued Thursday.
"I deeply resent the accusation that I am using a public position (the DPB) for private gain. Whatever help I was to Global had to do with 30 years of experience in these matters, and nothing to do with the DPB."
The Defense Policy Board provides top Pentagon leaders with "independent, informed advice and opinion concerning major matters of defense policy," according to its charter.
Perle said he was not paid for his influence and access to top Pentagon leaders but rather for his grasp of national security issues.
"It was clearly understood that I would not present their case to the government or lobby for them in any way and I have not done so. My role was limited to helping them understand the government's concerns and how to satisfy them. (This is complicated and much more difficult than one would imagine)," Perle wrote.Perle said in his resignation letter he would not accept any compensation for the consulting work he did for Global Crossing and that "any fee for past service would be donated to the families of American forces killed or injured in Iraq."
The New York Times reported that Perle is to be paid $725,000 by Global Crossing, including $600,000 if the government approves the sale of the company to the Hutchison joint venture. [...]
Rumsfeld accepted the resignation Thursday.
"I am grateful for his willingness to continue to serve on the board. I should add that I have known Richard Perle for many years and know him to be a man of integrity and honor," Rumsfeld said in a prepared statement.
As a member of the unpaid board, Perle would not be subject to the same ethics rules as the chairman. [...]