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Inquiry Clears Pentagon Advisor

November 17, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

SEOUL — An investigation by the U.S. Defense Department's inspector general has cleared Pentagon advisor Richard N. Perle of any violation of conflict of interest laws in his private consulting business, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday.

Rumsfeld issued a statement to reporters traveling with him in South Korea saying that Inspector General Joseph Schmitz had cleared Perle after a six-month investigation. "The inspector general's report confirms the integrity of the Defense Policy Board and Mr. Perle's participation," Rumsfeld said.

Perle resigned in March as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a group of security experts and former government officials who advise the Pentagon, after news reports alleged that he might have tried to use his connections for personal financial gain as a private consultant. Perle, an architect of the Iraq war, remains as a member of the board. Perle stepped down after facing allegations of a conflict of interest over his work as an advisor for the bankrupt Global Crossing Ltd.

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Times reported on classified briefings that Perle and the policy board received that related to his business dealings, such as on issues involving Iraq and North Korea. The Times also reported that Trireme Partners, a venture capital fund in which Perle is a managing partner, had been considering investments in high-tech military systems.

On Saturday, the New York Times reported that Perle was the focus of a new inquiry by Hollinger International, a media conglomerate where he serves as director. The inquiry is focusing on several transactions, including $2.5 million in payments made by the firm into Trireme Partners, the newspaper said.

Rumsfeld said Schmitz found Perle's activities "complied with statutory and regulatory standards that have been established for individuals who serve as special government employees."

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