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Boeing Or Northrop? When Will Congress Decide On Defense Contract?

Every day I’m told that the final decision on the Air Force’s $40 billion tanker deal will come down around 5 pm ET. And every day we start getting word around lunch that “it’s not going to be today.” Every. Day. This. Week.

It was supposed to happen today, again. Now, we’re hearing Friday.

The most amazing thing about this story is that the name of the winner hasn’t leaked out. Which makes me think that Pentagon officials maybe really haven’t made a final call! This despite a final review on Monday by the Defense Acquisition Board. This thing is the biggest defense secret since using Patton as a decoy during D-Day!

Monday, Washington Senator Patty Murray scheduled a news conference about the tanker for 4:30 pm ET. If Boeing wins, much of the work will be done in her state. But why would she schedule a news conference about the tanker before we knew a winner? Did she know something? The news conference was cancelled when it became clear the Air Force would not announce a decision Monday. Then, yesterday, EADS stock (traded in Europe) jumped on speculation from analysts that the Northrop Grumman /EADS team would win at least a piece of the tanker deal.

Then there's Boeing’s “virtual border,” which I reported about last week. The National Journal's Congress Daily reports the Government Accounting Office will testify today that Boeing's system of towers and cameras along 28 miles of Arizona border hasn’t performed to expectations. The GAO criticizes Boeing for building a system without input from the very people using it, Border Patrol agents.

While the Department of Homeland Security says the test system only cost $20.6 million, Congress Daily reports the GAO says Boeing was actually paid $1.2 BILLION if you throw in all the “task orders” for supplies and supply chain management.

OSCAR DE LA HOYA TO FIGHT STEVE FORBES

That headline nearly gave me whiplash as I did a double-take. But the Steve Forbes in question is not the same Steve Forbes you see on CNBC. (Compare their photos) De La Hoya is not going to the mat over the flat tax.


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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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