Sitting at the head of the table, Air Force Maj. Gen. Stephen M. Goldfein, the highest-ranking officer in the room, leaned forward and told the officers and others assembled before him that they should steer a multi-million dollar Air Force contract to a company named Strategic Message Solutions.
It was during that meeting in November 2005, according to a 251-page IG report obtained by The Washington Post, that a controversial $50 million contract was awarded to a company that barely existed in an effort to reward a recently retired four-star general and a millionaire civilian pilot who had grown close to senior Air Force officials and the Thunderbirds.
According to the report, Goldfein even arranged for President Bush to videotape a testimonial in the White House Map Room that was included in the SMS contract proposal as a demonstration of the company's credibility and access.
Don't you love it how some stories veritably scream, "I have a front-page half-life of seventeen months"? Let's hope that scream is right.
More at the Air Force Times. The contract regarded producing "multimedia presentations for Thunderbirds air shows":
And it later came to light that Goldfein worked through the White House and got President Bush to tape a video testimonial for the Thunderbirds. Goldfein provided this testimonial to Shipley [president of SMS], and SMS included it in its proposal.
I don't think Bush could exactly say he didn't know it was going to be used on a presentation for a Pentagon contract - y'know? I mean the people who'd see kind of like know him and stuff. And if he does say that, well, so he's calling Goldfein a liar? This will be interesting.