Hold That Contract

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Boeing's Sweet Tanker Deal Turns Sour...

In the latest of a long series of bad days for Boeing, on Tuesday the Pentagon said it will put on hold the manufacturer's lucrative but controversial $20 billion deal to sell 80 KC-767 airborne refueling planes to the Air Force and lease them 20 more. The contract was presumably a done deal when President Bush signed a bill on Nov. 24 that authorized the Defense Department to move forward, but the contract has not yet been finalized. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has been an outspoken opponent of the deal, is calling for the entire contract to be reassessed. A Defense Department Inspector General report issued last month also urged an investigation. The latest move by the Pentagon seems to open the way for the deal to be scrapped completely.