Richard Perle, the embattled advisor to Global Crossing, has resigned as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, an advisory group to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Perle has been under fire for serving on the defense board while Global Crossing is negotiating with the Pentagon over its proposed sale to Asian investors.
A former assistant defense secretary under Ronald Reagan, Perle has also attracted criticism for reports that he has sought defense-related consulting business while serving on the board.
In his resignation letter to Rumsfield, Perle wrote, “With our nation at war and American troops risking their lives to protect our freedom and liberate Iraq, I am dismayed that your valuable time, and that of others in the Department of Defense and the administration, might be burdened by the controversy surrounding my chairmanship of the Defense Policy Board.”
Global Crossing, the telecommunications giant currently in bankruptcy proceedings, recently retained Perle to lobby the Department of Defense to drop its objections to the Global Crossing sale to buyers in Hong Kong and Singapore. Both Defense and the FBI object to the sale as a possible national security threat since the deal would put Global Crossing’s fiber optic network, which is extensively used by the U.S. government, in the hands of foreign investors.
A number of reports state that Perle stands to make as much as $725,000 if the deal is approved. Perle has denied any conflict of interest since the Defense Policy Board has nothing to do with approving the Global Crossing deal.
“You have my assurance that I have respected and abided by the rules that apply to the Defense Policy Board and other advisory boards,” Perle wrote in his letter to Rumsfeld.
In addition, Perle wrote, “I am advising Global Crossing that I will not accept any compensation that might result from their pending acquisition and that any fee for past service would be donated to the families of American forces killed or injured in Iraq.”