An article in the Boston Globe this weekend implied that Vermont’s senior U.S. Senator used his influence to manipulate the base selection process for the Air Force’s new fighter jet. Those against basing the F35 at the South Burlington National Guard Base are pleased, but supporters say the article lacks credibility.
The article published April 13th and penned by Bryan Bender says the Air Force relied on flawed and inaccurate data to choose the South Burlington Vermont Air National Guard base as a finalist to host the new F35 fighter jet. Bender writes: “One of the Pentagon officials said....the lengthy base-selection process was deliberately “fudged” by military brass so that Leahy’s home state would win.”
Leahy is Vermont Democrat U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy - the pro tem of that chamber.
Senator Leahy was unavailable for comment. His Press Secretary, David Carle, would not comment on tape, but did send the Senator’s statement: “The Air Force selected the Vermont Guard as its preferred choice for the F-35s on the merits, based on the Vermont Air Guard’s unsurpassed record, its top-flight personnel and facilities, and its strategic location. Vague, anonymous, uninformed and rehashed conspiracy theories cannot change those facts.”
Stop the F35s founder Juliet Buck knew the story was about to be published and says it’s exactly what needs to be discussed.
Nicole Citro formed the Green Ribbons for the F35 campaign to show support for the Guard and the new jets.
The article comes out at the same time opponents did a blast campaign to 60 Minutes asking the news magazine to investigate the F35 selection process. Juliet Buck calls it a “sexy angle” that could catch their attention.
Nicole Citro, whose group countered the 60 Minutes campaign with their own effort, maintains that opponents are grasping at straws with already unproven allegations.
Senator Leahy’s office emailed copies of correspondence from 2010 praising Air Force transparency and public hearings in the siting process.