Wash. Times didn't disclose subcontractor ties of McInerney, purported spokesman for "the Air Force fighter community"


Reporting on Robert Gates' decision to end production of F-22 fighter jets, The Washington Times quoted Tom McInerney's claim that Gates "has decimated the Air Force for the future" without noting that McInerney has reportedly served as a consultant to Northrop Grumman, a major subcontractor on the F-22.

In a May 11 Washington Times article, reporter Rowan Scarborough asserted that "the Air Force fighter community" believes Defense Secretary Robert Gates "is sacrificing air superiority" and that "[t]he Air Force had wanted more than 300 F-22s but would have settled for 240." Scarborough then quoted Fox News military analyst and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney saying that Gates "has decimated the Air Force for the future" and that Gates is "the most dangerous secretary of defense we've ever had." However, Scarborough did not disclose that McInerney has reportedly served as a consultant for the Northrop Grumman Corp., which is a major subcontractor on the F-22. Scarborough named no other members of "the Air Force fighter community" who criticized Gates' decision to end production of the F-22, which Gates has said was "not a close call" based on "the military advice that I got," including from the Air Force.

As Media Matters for America has documented, McInerney's HumanEvents.com bio -- he has written several articles for the magazine -- states that he "consults for Northrop Grumman on the KC 45 program." On the March 10, 2008, edition of Fox News' Special Report, correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported that "McInerney consults for Northrop Grumman." Also, an August 1, 2008, C4ISR Journal op-ed by McInerney identified him as "a consultant to Northrop Grumman."

McInerney has also recently consulted for defense contractor Cobham plc, which in March 2006 announced that its subsidiary Sargent Fletcher Inc. had been awarded contracts from Lockheed Martin Corp. "worth more than US$8m for its 600 gallon external fuel tanks for the F-22 Raptor jet aircraft." According to Sargent Fletcher's website, the company is "currently under contract to Lockheed Martin for the Low-Rate Initial Production of a new 600-gallon external fuel tank for the F/A-22 fighter." In a June 4, 2008, press release, Cobham announced McInerney's nomination to the board of Cobham North America as one of "three senior 'Outside Directors,' " who, with the approval of the U.S. government, would "provide assurance on security matters and strategic guidance on defence and market trends." According to the press release, McInerney's nomination was a part of Cobham's purchase of another defense contractor, SPARTA Inc.

McInerney was featured in the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times exposé by David Barstow that detailed the connections between numerous media military analysts, the Pentagon, and the defense industry. In the article, Barstow reported that McInerney "sits on the boards of several military contractors, including Nortel Government Solutions, a supplier of communication networks." The article also reported that the Pentagon helped McInerney and another Fox military analyst "write an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal defending [former Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld" and that, in an apparently separate case, McInerney "wrote to the Pentagon after receiving fresh talking points in late 2006," stating, "Good work. ... We will use it."

From the May 11 Washington Times article:

To the Air Force fighter community, Mr. Gates is sacrificing air superiority -- the military operation of capturing the sky from the enemy -- should there be a future war against China or Russia. The Air Force had wanted more than 300 F-22s but would have settled for 240.

"He has decimated the Air Force for the future," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, who flew hundreds of combat missions in Vietnam. He calls Mr. Gates "the most dangerous secretary of defense we've ever had."

In addition to ending the F-22 production line, Mr. Gates canceled a next-generation long-range bomber and the Air Force's new combat search and rescue helicopter.

"He is focused on irregular warfare to a fault," said Gen. McInerney. "Not one of the six Joint Chiefs knows anything about air superiority or has had any combat experience in it. Yet the number one military requirement of military operations is air supremacy. You cannot conduct ops if you don't have it."

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Defense Funding
The Washington Times
Thomas McInerney
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