Magazine article Information Management

Boeing Probe Intensifies

Magazine article Information Management

Boeing Probe Intensifies

Article excerpt

The grand jury probe of Boeing Co.'s illegal document gathering is growing larger and gaining steam. Since late 2002, the Los Angeles U.S. attorney's office has been investigating Boeing's alleged use of thousands of sensitive Lockheed Martin Corp. documents to help win a multi-billion-dollar competition for Air Force launch contracts during the late 1990s. That investigation is now before a federal grand jury. Most recently, the U.S. charged a third former mid-level Boeing manager with participating in an alleged scheme to use proprietary documents stolen from Lockheed to compete for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contracts, a move that comes even as investigators increasingly pursue higher level executives of the company's rocket unit.

Last year, Air Force officials concluded that Boeing had illegally acquired thousands of pages of proprietary Lockheed documents from former Lockheed managers it hired in the 1990s, giving Boeing an unfair advantage by helping it calculate the amount bid by its rival in a major rocket competition. Boeing was stripped of $1 billion in military launches and suspended from bidding for new Air Force business as a result.

The NASA contracts involve different Lockheed documents, different Boeing managers, and a different former Lockheed employee than those involved in the Air Force matter. The widened investigation shows that the use of Lockheed data may have been broader than Boeing has acknowledged, according to The Wall Street Journal. That newspaper's reports said an affidavit from a former Boeing cost analyst, separate e-mails, and Air Force papers seemed to contradict Boeing's assertions that only a few "renegade" mid-level managers, who have since been fired or disciplined, were involved in wrongdoing. The new information also indicates that sensitive data acquired from competitors were more widely used by Boeing than the company has publicly disclosed.

The government affidavit says that Boeing official Larry Satchell repeatedly received proprietary and "competition-sensitive" documents that belonged to Lockheed and then provided precise cost and other data gleaned from those documents to Boeing's cost analyst, who then plugged them into computer programs comparing Boeing and Lockheed costs. …

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