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WHEN THE PENTAGON WAS FOR SALE: Inside America's Biggest Defense Scandal Hardcover – September 11, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (September 11, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068419516X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684195162
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,755,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pasztor's examination of Pentagon and arms-industry corruption exposes the process by which such giant defense contractors as Boeing, General Electric and United Technologies illegally obtained contracts with the cooperation of Pentagon officials throughout the Reagan years. Based on grand jury testimony, sworn depositions and interviews, the book tracks the criminal investigations and prosecution of defense suppliers and Pentagon officials during the Justice Department's Operation Illwind. Although Illwind was "a fabulous success," according to the author, he maintains that very little has changed to improve day-to-day accountability, and the Pentagon's own rules and regulations continue implicitly to encourage wrongdoing. Pasztor's impressive investigative reporting renders coherent for the general reader Pentagon corruption and provides fresh insight into the arms-acquisition process. Pasztor is a defense correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This troubling tale starts with "two scared little girls, the frightfully troubled man who accosted them and the tiny puddle of semen on the grimy basement floor" and spreads to "the biggest Pentagon corruption scandal in history." Pasztor's expose describes Operation Illwind, the investigation and prosecution of a score of officials and contractors who indulged in fraudulent acquisition practices. Big money from lucrative weapons contracts was illegally gained through insider knowledge and pernicious document swapping that "compromised the integrity of the military's procurement system." Basing his book on over 130 interviews (with FBI agents, industrialists, senators, and Defense and Navy secretaries) and a meticulous review of trial transcripts and wiretaps, Pasztor, a Wall Street Journal reporter, doesn't need the innuendos and insinuations that he succumbs to at times. For popular collections.?John Yurechko, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Citizen John TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book chronicles the way major weapons procurement was done during the Reagan administration. This was a period of massive military spending. Big defense contractors had to work through lobbyists to get contracts just because that's how the game was played in many instances.

Right from the beginning, the story got my attention with an unfortunate human interest story. After that the subject was purely on corruption in federal procurement and how rampant it was at the time. As a taxpayer, it made me angry. I stayed angry for most of the book and wasn't surprised that justice never prevailed.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book when it was first out, and gave away several copies to friends. Although it seems to be a microcosm in time, any acquisition professional can gain insight how the acquisition process is flawed from testing to selection, even though this book is 15+ years old and about a specific system

I remember when Melvyn Paisley was in power and people in Navy R&D work NO Paisley buttons to work. This was a huge Navy scandal and no one outside the Navy noticed. The acquisition system is even more loosey goosey since 9/11, after you read this, imagine how awful it is now.

This should be required reading for DoD acquisition professionals.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this the most revealing book on the corruption going on in our government. Former President Dwight Eisenhower said before leaving office, "Beware of the Military-Industry complex". He knew what he was talking about and it's a sad situation no lessons were learned after reading this book. The book names names and places of who the crooked military and government employees were. If we don't learn from this then all might be lost.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For all of you who suspected this was going on - this will verify your suspicions. The bad thing is - while the fines to the businesses involved looked big, in terms of the contracts they got from the government, the fines were just a cost of doing business. Any one in the government today will be able to tell that this is not only still going on, but in terms of what the government is currently contracting out - it has gotten worse by multitudes. This book will educate you on how hard it is to develop a case against this type of "crime" and why it continues. It get's slow at times and some of the terms are used incorrectly, but this is the proverbial look at sausage being made. If you wonder why certain things are going on in government, this will certainly help you understand. A MUST read for all career government managers.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Todd W. Hemphill on March 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
OK, everyone who's heard of Monica Lewinsky raise your hand... Now, everyone who's heard of Melvyn Paisley raise your hand... That's odd, everyone knows who Monica Lewinsky is but no one has ever heard of the central figure in the most costly scandal in U.S. history. I guess if Melvyn had performed a sexual act with a high ranking official instead of screwing the tax payers out of millions of dollars he'd have made the news.

How does a scandal like this get swept under the rug? This book chronicles this mess from beginning to end, explaining how we as tax payers actually paid companies to bribe members of our government. (It turns out that many companies included the cost of the bribes in the final tab for the weapons systems they sold us, many of which ranged from severely flaw to totally useless) All of this under the nose of the Gipper, of course. I guess Nancy's astrologer didn't see it coming.

A good read that will leave you shaking your head not only at what went on but at the fact that it flashed through our collective consciousness without leaving so much as a ripple.
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