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Nancy Pelosi Airplane Scandal, John Murtha Warns Pentagon
The airplane scandal for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is ramping up. One of her main allies, Congressman John Murtha is stepping up and in his own words is telling the Pentagon what to do. According to a report from the San Francisco chronicle, Murtha, who chairs the House military appropriations subcommittee, said he has spoken to Pentagon officials about the need to provide Pelosi with a bigger plane that can fly passengers coast to coast in comfort.
But he denied pressuring the Pentagon. "I don't need to pressure them. I just tell them what they need to do,'' Murtha said.
Murtha then seemed to threaten the Pentagon again - or at least told them what to do. Murtha said he is convinced the Pentagon has been leaking information about the possibility that Pelosi would use large military planes to make her look bad. But he said, "They're making a mistake when they leak it because she decides on allocations for them,'' referring to the Pentagon budget.
The whole PR mess for Nancy Pelosi began when she requested a C-32 plane for her travels - a luxurious and specially configured version of the Boeing 757-200 commercial intercontinental airliner. The plane seats 45 passengers with business-class accommodations and a crew of up to 16, depending on the mission.
According to ABC News it features a communications center, a fully enclosed stateroom for the primary passenger, a changing area, a conference facility, an entertainment system, and a convertible divan that seats three and folds out to a bed. The C-32 can cost as much as $22,000 an hour to operate.
The Washington Times earlier cited sources, who include those in Congress and in the administration, that said the Democratwas seeking regular military flights not only for herself and her staff, but also for relatives and for other members of the California delegation. A knowledgeable source called the request "carte blanche for an aircraft any time."
According to ABC News, the Pentagon didn't respond to Murtha's demands. A source close to the controversy over the request made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for use of a military plane that can fly to and from her home district in San Francisco without having to stop to refuel, told ABC News that the Pentagon has rebuffed Pelosi's request.
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