October 13th, 2008

Chris Keeley

Insider’s Projects Drained Missile-Defense Millions

October 12, 2008
Insider’s Projects Drained Missile-Defense Millions
By ERIC LIPTON

WASHINGTON — They huddled in a quiet corner at the US Airways lounge at Ronald Reagan National Airport, sipping bottomless cups of coffee as they plotted to turn America’s missile defense program into a personal cash machine.

Michael Cantrell, an engineer at the Army Space and Missile Defense Command headquarters in Huntsville, Ala., along with his deputy, Doug Ennis, had lined up millions of dollars from Congress for defense companies. Now, Mr. Cantrell decided, it was time to take a cut.

“The contractors are making a killing,” Mr. Cantrell recalled thinking at the meeting, in 2000. “The lobbyists are getting their fees, and the contractors and lobbyists are writing out campaign checks to the politicians. Everybody is making money here — except us.”

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