TOP AIR FORCE CIVILIAN COMMITS SUICIDE
PROCUREMENT OFFICIAL CAUGHT IN $30,000
"NO-SHOW" JOB - WORKED ONLY 60 DAYS
FOR BIG BUCKS FROM PENNSYLVANIA FIRM
LINKED TO CONGRESSMAN JOHN MURTHA
AIR FORCE ADMITS TO ARRANGING DEAL WITH
"COMMONWEALTH RESEARCH" - CHARLES
RIECHER DEAD AT 47 - TOOK OVER POSITION
PREVIOUSLY HELD BY CORRUPT DARLEEN
DRUYEN - SHE IN "BOEING TANKER" SCANDAL
TIME FOR GATES TO FIRE GEN MOSELEY
ARCHITECT OF "MAJ JILL METZGER" COVER-UP
Undoubtedly, it was the worst day of Charles Riecher's life. The 47 year-old retired Air Force colonel picked up a copy of the October 1st Washington POST and learned his "no-show job" for a Pentagon-favored "non-profit" Pennsylvania corporation had just been exposed.
Nearly $30,000 for no work at all. Before his suicide 13 days later, he admitted to the newspaper that "I really didn't do anything for CRI (Commonwealth Research Institute). I got a paycheck from them."
Indeed he did, while waiting to assume his new duties as the number two man in the Air Force's procurement office. And that windfall came to Riecher from a corporation closely linked to controversial Congressman John Murtha.
MilitaryCorruption.com has learned Murtha arranged for CRI's parent company, Concurrent Technologies of Johnstown, Pa., to get $10 million in "earmarks" for fiscal 2008. Those figures are thanks to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group.
Did Murtha personally benefit from the wheeling and dealing on behalf of an outfit headquartered in the middle of his Congressional district? We don't know. He denies it, but we hope the sleazy Democrat, who earned the undying enmity of thousands of U.S. Marines for his reckless "rush-to-judgment" in the Haditha killings case, will be candid about who has contributed to his political war chest. Could it be that some of CRI's bigwigs kicked in to their benefactor? The public has a right to know.
COULD THIS BE JUST THE "TIP OF THE ICEBERG?"
Riecher's death has rocked the Pentagon and top Air Force officials who don't want the media snooping around looking for "other reasons" the former USAF pilot got in his car in a closed garage in Loudoun County, Va. and turned on the ignition. Sources tell us it might be linked to an ongoing Justice Department criminal probe of bribery and corruption involving almost $6 billion in contracts to provide supplies for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What role did troubled Air Force Chief-of-Staff, Gen. T. Michael Moseley play, if any, in this mess? Beltway observers are bewildered why new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is so reluctant to reign in his arrogant general, the architect of the odious "Maj. Jill Metzger" cover-up.
What makes Moseley impervious to oversight or discipline? It's about time, we think, a Congressional investigation is launched into widespread corruption in the Air Force. Moseley should be made to testify and explain why so much wrongdoing has occurred on his watch. The bullet-headed brass hat could start by explaining why the Air Force not only sanctioned but arranged Riecher's lucrative "no-show" job with CRI.
It is ironic that Riecher's life should come to such a disastrous end. He succeeded the corrupt and convicted former deputy acquisitions chief Darleen Druyen, still serving time for her role in the "Boeing tanker" scam. When the well-liked and "straight-arrow" Riecher took over, he dismissed that scandal as an "aberration" and vowed that "restoring credibility to the Air Force acquisitions system" would be one of his "top priorities."
When his "below-the-radar" no-show job ended at CRI on January 26 of this year, PAO flacks made a big deal about Riecher receiving an "ethics briefing" from Air Force lawyers his first day on the job. A lot of good that did him.
THANK GOD FOR A (STILL) FREE PRESS -
CONGRATS TO THE WASHINGTON POST
We think there's a lot more to come in this tangled web. Probably the first media outlet to uncover it will be the much-improved Washington POST. That newspaper, and first-rate reporter Robert O'Harrow Jr., have distinguished themselves by refusing to be lapdogs for the Pentagon - unlike some other publications in the area we know.
As long as we still have a free press in this country, the corrupt elements within the scandal-plagued Bush Administration, and the one to come, won't be able to relax for fear their criminal activities will be made known.
Let us hope we have seen the last of a "vice" president and former CEO of Halliburton who - despite his lack of military service and five draft deferments - can unabashedly bang the drums of war and, while pulling the puppet strings, ultimately profit from all the death and destruction our unnecessary excursion into Iraq has wrought. He should remember, someday when he goes to his ultimate judgment, he can't take a single war profiteer's dime with him.