Monday, September 26, 2005

Bush Can't Get HIMSELF Adequate Body Armor

So now Bush can't even get himself proper body armor? Can we all finally agree that he doesn't have any idea what he's doing?

Would you trust your safety to this man?

"Potentially Flawed Armor Bought for President Bush, Elite Troops"

By JOHN SOLOMON, AP

WASHINGTON (Sept. 26) - Federal prosecutors are investigating whether a maker of bulletproof vests endangered lives, including President Bush's, by concealing potentially deadly flaws in the body armor sold to the government and police agencies.

A whistle-blower from the company, Second Chance Body Armor Inc., of Central Lake, Mich., testified this month that the Secret Service tested and bought some of the defective vests for the president and first lady Laura Bush.

The Pentagon also obtained the same armor for elite troops who guard generals, according to transcripts obtained by The Associated Press.

Many sales occurred well after Second Chance had been alerted that the Japanese-made Zylon synthetic material in the vests was degrading faster than expected from heat, light and moisture exposure, allowing bullets to potentially penetrate the armor, according to the whistle-blower's testimony and other company documents....

[SNIP]

By 2001, Second Chance's research chief, Aaron Westrick, was pleading unsuccessfully with his company's president to replace the vests after his own tests showed them degrading, the memos show.

"Lives and our credibility are at stake," Westrick wrote then-Second Chance president Richard Davis in a Dec. 18, 2001, memo. "We will only prevail if we do the right things and not hesitate. This issue should not be hidden for obvious safety issues and because of future litigation."

...."Second Chance customers were not alerted to the problems until September 2003 _ after a California police officer was shot to death wearing the vest and a Pennsylvania officer was seriously wounded."

..."Throughout 2001 and 2002, agencies from the Pentagon to local police bought vests from Second Chance, records show. The company now says more than 100,000 Zylon vests it sold are in question, and the government said it bought at least 40,000."

In summer 2002, company executives prepared a memo for their board of directors recommending two stark options.

"Solution 1: We continue to operate as though nothing is wrong until one of our customers is killed or wounded or Germany, Japan, Dupont or some other entity exposes the Zylon problem," the memo said.

Under a category "Downfalls" for that option, the memo warned an officer wearing one of the vests might be killed. "In the eyes of law enforcement, we will either be stupid for not knowing or greedy and uncaring for knowing and not doing anything about it," the memo said.

The second option recommended the company publish an ad "denouncing" the vests and "decline to make them" unless customers knew of the problem and still wanted them.

"...It is apparent that Toyobo was duped by Second Chance," Kent Jarrell, a U.S. spokesman for Toyobo, said Sunday. "We were shocked by the level of Second Chance's deception when their behavior was finally uncovered because of documents that surfaced in litigation and through investigation."

..."The president had Zylon Ultima armor and his wife had it, if I recollect, and they took a look at it ... I believe it was the Secret Service put the armor through some special tests and went with it, bought it," Westrick testified in a Sept. 9 transcript obtained by The Associated Press."

"...Westrick was told Bush wore Zylon-protection during the 2001 inauguration and during a 2002 event with police that his boss attended, according to legal professionals familiar with the case."

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