The Pentagon Up for Sale

A nationwide investigation uncovers "rampant bribery" in military contracts

By spending $160 billion a year on its huge purchases of sophisticated weapons and mundane supplies, the U.S. Defense Department has become the "largest and the most important business enterprise in the world," declared a presidential commission that undertook to reform the Pentagon's procurement procedures two years ago. It is also a system, said the commission, that is "fundamentally ill" in the way it awards 15 million contracts annually. Just how wrong things have gone at the Pentagon became apparent last week. Operation Ill Wind, an extensive two-year investigation of fraud and bribery in the handling of major purchases, blew into...

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