We’ve previously followed some of Sharon Weinberger’s coverage at Wired on former Representative Curt Weldon’s ties to shady arms-dealings. Weldon, a defeated Republican from Pennsylvania was employed as Chief Strategic Officer for Defense Solutions after losing his election in November 2006.
Lost in the holiday weekend traffic was a Wired story on the Pennsylvania based arm dealer’s multiple contracts, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to corner the supplier market from Eastern Bloc countries to to Iraq. The deals, which the magazine describes as “often legally murky” were brokered by Weldon, who is currently under investigation by the FBI for corruption stemming from his work in Congress.
In an update yesterday, Weinberger expanded on Defense Solution’s claim that they had an exclusive deal with Ukraine to supply their armored vehicles to Iraq. The boast was bolstered by a signed letter from Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andri Veselovsky, to the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Stephan Minikes.
Defense Solution’s CEO, Tim Ringgold, bandied the letter about as proof of their relationship — that is until Veselovsky told Wired the letter was a fake, and that it wasn’t his signature. Now Ringgold seems to be taking it all back.
In an update on Weinberger’s Wired blog DANGER ROOM:
Timothy Ringgold, the CEO of Defense Solutions wrote DANGER ROOM to express some objections with this post. His letter, with our answers, follows……
Ringgold writes: Your article of July 7, 2008 11:07 a.m. has a number of significant inaccuracies, not he least of which deals with your allegation of forgery:
As I informed you during our phone conversation, I have no knowledge of a “letter” from Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister, but I am aware of an email dated February 25, 2008 received from the Deputy Foreign Minister. Since I spoke with the Deputy Foreign Minister after receiving it, I think it safe to conclude the email was genuine.
[DR: The forgery allegation is not ours; it is Veselovsky’s. He stated quite clearly it is not his signature on the letter. When asked about the Veselovsky letter during the interview, Ringgold acknowledged it, until he was told the Veselovsky denied signing it.]