December 15, 2009

Talk about double-dipping! I wonder if it would be too much to ask that media outlets ask about such conflicts before they offer them outlets as "objective" analysts:


WASHINGTON — After retiring from the Marine Corps in December 2003, Emil "Buck" Bedard headed back to work — for both the Pentagon and defense contractors.

Two months after leaving the service as a lieutenant general, Bedard became an adviser for the Pentagon's Joint Forces Command, a job that this year paid him about $1,600 per day to help run war games and mentor high-level commanders on how to lead troops in battle. Bedard also signed on with seven defense contractors as a corporate director or consultant.

For one of those firms, Bedard marketed a video surveillance system to the Marines during the time he was getting paid by the Pentagon for mentoring, even after a general concluded that the technology "did not work as advertised," a USA TODAY investigation found.

Bedard's activities present a case study of the kinds of situations that arise when retired senior officers become paid Pentagon advisers even as they market products to the military as consultants for defense contractors. USA TODAY reported last month that roughly 130 retired generals and admirals have held taxpayer-funded military jobs as "senior mentors" while also working for defense contractors.

Bedard's case goes beyond getting paid to advise the government and industry at the same time. E-mails and interviews show that Bedard pushed for his former service branch to buy the video system, including sending e-mails while on mentoring assignments.

"In the corporate world, this ... would not be tolerated," said Kirk Hanson, director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in California.

"It is not uncommon for someone to consult with their former employer, but it is a major concern if they are simultaneously representing groups that sell to or try to influence their former employer."

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.