Reserving Judgment

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, told reporters after Thursday’s KC-X tanker hearing that he had to at least “leave open the possibility” that the Air Force’s accidental release of tanker information last fall could prove to be more advantageous to EADS North America. That’s because one of its employees briefly viewed information meant for rival Boeing before realizing the Air Force’s error and notifying USAF officials. Boeing employees caught the mistake before viewing the misrouted information sent to them on EADS. Levin said he had no intention of requesting more information on this matter from the Air Force until the KC-X contract is awarded. “We would have to get inside the source selection to do it and I don’t think that’s very appropriate. We tried to be very careful here today,” Levin said. During the hearing, he did make a point of praising the Air Force for taking actions after the data release in an effort to ensure a level playing field for both companies in the face of any perceived unfairness. “There clearly is an attempt to level it, and I commend the Air Force for trying to do that,” he said.