Pentagon adviser Richard Perle briefed an investment seminar on ways to profit from conflicts in Iraq and North Korea just weeks after he received a top-secret government briefing on the crises in the two countries.
Perle, who until March was chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a group of outside advisers to the Pentagon, also serves on the board of several defense contractors. His actions raise concerns about conflicts of interest.
Perle attended a Defense Intelligence Agency briefing in February and three weeks later participated in a Goldman Sachs conference call in which he advised investors in a talk titled Implications of an Imminent War: Iraq Now. North Korea Next?
A financial advisor who participated in the conference call told Capitol Hill Blue that Perle offered “advice on how to cash if war broke out in Iraq and/or North Korea.”
Perle did not return phone calls or e-mails seeking comment.
One of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s closest advisers, Perle was a vocal advocate of going to war against Iraq and publicly questioned the reliability of some longtime U.S. allies, including France and Saudi Arabia.
He resigned as chairman of the Defense Policy Board on March 27 after it was reported he had worked as a consultant to bankrupt telecommunications company Global Crossing Ltd., which was trying to get Pentagon approval to be sold to Asian investors.
In offering his resignation, Perle, 61, denied any wrongdoing and said he didn’t want questions about his outside interests to be a distraction to Rumsfeld. He remained a member of the board.
“The guiding principle here is that you do not give advice in the Defense Policy Board on any particular matter in which you have an interest,” he said at the time. “And I don’t do that. I haven’t done that.”
Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, has asked the Pentagon’s inspector general to investigate Perle’s business activities and any conflicts they might pose for his membership.