DEFENDING AMERICA
David H. Hackworth
October 17, 1995

SLAM, BAM, A DOUBLE SCAM

Investigators recently found more than a billion dollars squirreled away in a secret CIA slush fund belonging to the National Reconnaissance Office.

The loot -- which came out of our tax dollars -- probably would never have been discovered except that the same spooks built a high-profile, $300 million corporate headquarters spyrise right in the shadow of the Capitol.

Our Congressional watchdogs didn't catch the building going up until a curious citizen asked, "Hey, CIA, where did you get the money for this monster of a building?"

The CIA then admitted it had done a little creative bookkeeping, juggled the money from black accounts and before you could say "Aldrich Ames," it had the dough for the spyscraper and had stashed away over a billion bucks to boot.

Congress's priorities amaze me. Our lawmakers can have yards of dirt dug up in a park, looking for the bullet that took out Vince Foster, but it can't stop the CIA from knocking off megabucks.

Hey folks, I thought we hired Congress to be our oversight policemen and stop such Beltway robberies!

Instead of catching the thieves, Congress cut school lunches from the poor, gut Medicare, Medicaid and educational programs and played Sherlock Holmes in the park.

Many of our Washington-based politicians don't give a damn about the larger America. They're just into glomming pork for their district and states and getting re-elected.

No wonder only 19 percent of Americans believe that politicians will do the right thing, and 62 percent of Americans no longer want to be affiliated with either party.

I followed the recovered billion dollar money trail. Did the megabucks go to helping the poor? No! Were they used to bring down the deficit? No! Was the cash returned to the citizens as a long overdue peace dividend? No!

Congress oozed every red cent into its defense industrial welfare program to buy more B-2s, which the Pentagon doesn't want. Top guns there say the 20 B-2s on order are enough, and any more will only "marginally increase" the capability of the U.S. Air Force.

Air Force top brass add that they can't afford more B-2s and still buy new jet fighters, transport aircraft and other hardware that's more important to defend America.

But when it comes to pork, do you think Congress will listen to the top brass who are hired to figure out what hardware they need?

Not on your life! Congress not only slipped the billion bucks into the B- 2 trough, but 213 House members voted to add $493 million more to the 1996 defense bill to "resume production of longlead (B-2) components." These dudes want to buy 20 additional B-2 bombers that not one expert responsible for the security of this country wants.

What keeps the B-2 alive over military necessity is more than 3,000 defense contractors who provide tens of thousands of jobs in every state except Hawaii and Alaska. These slime-bags lobby, lie and load PACs of politicians with hard cash so they'll vote their way.

Now, this big dough makes it damn hard for a lot of our lawmakers to think straight. They can't seem to separate common sense and duty from pork and jobs for the folks back home. They just can't see how their selfishness is cheating America.

Not all the lawmakers are corrupt. Opponents of more B-2s, such as John Kasich, R-Ohio, and Ronald Dellums, D-Calif., say that 20 more of these dysfunctional bombers would cost over $30 billion. They want this money to be spent where it's needed -- on America.

Studies indicate that the B-2 is not stealthy, its effectiveness is further crippled because of a shortage of advanced munitions and the Fly Boys have other systems that do a better job.

Spending billions of dollars for this flawed weapons system boggles the mind, especially when we don't have one serious enemy out there to bomb with the scores of B-52, B-1 and B-2 bombers the Air Force has that are "good to go."

It doesn't take a Stephen Hawkings to figure out that defense dollars should be carefully spent to protect America's security interests, not on pork for 213 self-serving House members who have their snouts deep in the trough.