THE PENTAGON UNDERGROUND: Hidden Patriots Fighting Against Deceit and Fraud in America's Defense Program by Dina Rasor

THE PENTAGON UNDERGROUND: Hidden Patriots Fighting Against Deceit and Fraud in America's Defense Program

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The unusual story of a public-interest advocate and the ""closet patriots"" of the Pentagon, who have leaked documents to her that reveal megabillions wasted on malfunctioning, overpriced air cargo planes, tanks, replacement parts and--yes--the infamous $7622 coffee maker. In 1981, Rasor became director of the Project on Military Procurement with seed money from the Taxpayers Legal Fund. When this group fired her because she refused to attack overseas military commitments, she and her husband kept the organization alive with their own money until--when they were down to their last $30--the Fund for Constitutional Government came to their rescue. Although her efforts have not yet resulted in any one notable cost savings, the public is now aware that the Pentagon may well be wasting a hair-raising amount of taxpayer money. Rasor claims that promotions traditionally go to those Pentagon officers who can wrangle the most money for weapons projects, and are denied those who report problems during developmental and testing stages. Furthermore, most officers do little to jeopardize their relationships with defense contractors--who are primary employers of retired military brass. The contractors, meanwhile, have a built-in incentive to make shoddy material because the Pentagon seldom insists on warranties, much less on penalties for defective products. Congress seems unable to control ballooning defense budgets and lacks the will because military spending has become the pork barrel that brings money and jobs to virtually every state of the Union. Rasor is not discouraged, however. She has ""noted a distinct change in the public's knowledge and attitude toward waste in the Pentagon"" and claims, ""A new breed of congressmen, albeit a small number, are beginning to see how damaging this business-as-usual system is to the national defense and economy."" Dina against Goliath--and although the giant's armor is thus far only slightly nicked, the story of the fray makes an engrossing read.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1985
Publisher: Times Books