Congressional critics say former Defense Secretary Caspar Wein-berger ignored reports of excessively cozy relationships between military officials and defense contractors during his seven years as Pentagon chief.
But Weinberger defends his stewardship of the department, which included one of the largest military buildups in history, saying it is still too early in the unfolding Pentagon purchasing fraud case to say whether there was any serious lapse."I don't have any basis whatever for saying I didn't do enough, and I certainly don't feel culpable," Weinberger said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., said he had warned Weinberger there was "a massive problem" with secret documents falling into the hands of defense contractors but that Weinberger never responded.
"I have to say that there is every appearance that they did not want to know," Dingell said on ABC's "This Week With David Brinkley" program. "It appears there is some condoning, if not active participation, by the leadership of the Pentagon in these matters."
Sen. David Pryor, D-Ark., said on the same program that Weinberger had presided over "a feeding frenzy" of contracting, marked by "incestuous relationships" between federal officials and private contractors.
Pryor said the Defense Department has resisted every recent attempt by Congress to institute controls and accountability, including the establishment of an independent inspector general. Even now, Pryor said, the department's inspector general is not complying with the law that requires monitoring of outside consulting contracts.
The procurement fraud case, under development since late 1986, became public June 14 when investigators raided Pentagon offices and homes and offices of defense contractors and consultants.