KC-45 Flying Through Flak Today (UPDATED)

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Consider this just a few more flogs on a dying horse, I guess, but I wanted to update you all on the latest developments in the Tanker Tango.

First of all, be sure to log into C-Span today at around 1000 1330 to watch the histrionics ensue as the indomitable John Murtha (D-Pa.) -- who's been oft nominated as the "KING" of pork -- probes the tanker deal in his House Appropriations Committee subcommittee on defense.

The witnesses are scheduled to include the Air Force's director of acquisition Sue Payton and the service's Aeronautical Systems Center chief, Lt. Gen. Jack Hudson.

In other news, my source over at Norm Dicks' office sent me yet another letter that purportedly shows McCain enticing the Air Force to leave consideration of a WTO dispute over subsidies for Airbus out of the RFP process. The source writes:

Attached is another letter from Sen. McCain, Sept. 2006, in which he was badgering the Air Force not to include any reference to the subsidy issue in the tanker RFP. In the letter he effectively calls the legal case that the U.S. government (USTR) filed against EADS over the theft of US aerospace jobs "needless" and "improper" in the RFP process. As you can imagine, Mr. Dicks had a different view then and now. Contrary to what Sen. McCain said he wanted, it could only have been a "level playing field" if the subsidy issue WAS included in the selection process.

Trust me, folks, I don't want to beat a dead horse here, but I know you all are interested in how this progresses so I'm gonna keep posting what I find as the controversy -- and political fight -- unfolds.

[EDITOR:Also, check out this update from our friends at Aviation Week on Boeing's request to accelerate the decision "outbrief."]

-- Christian

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