Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan "fully complied with his ethics agreements and his ethical obligations," according to the Pentagon's watchdog review of potentially favoring Boeing, The Washington Post reported.
"While Shanahan did routinely refer to his prior industry experience in meetings, witnesses interpreted it, and told us, that he was doing it to describe his experience and to improve government management of DoD programs, rather than to promote Boeing or its products," the probe concluded, according to the Post.
The investigation exoneration of the former Boeing employee and acting defense secretary opens the door for President Donald Trump to officially nominate Shanahan as the official secretary of defense, replacing the resigned James Mattis.
Shanahan, who spent 31 years at Boeing, faced allegations of bias toward Boeing stemmed from his 18 months as deputy defense secretary, beginning in July 2017.
In a written statement summarizing the outcome of its probe, which began March 15, the inspector general's office said it "did not substantiate any of the allegations and determined that Acting Secretary Shanahan fully complied with his ethical obligations and agreements regarding Boeing and its competitors."
A spokesman for Shanahan, Army Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, said Shanahan's ethics agreement "ensures no potential for a conflict of interest with Boeing on any matter." He said Shanahan is focused on "retooling the military for great power competition," executing the national defense strategy and caring for service members and their families.
The 47-page report cited examples of Shanahan strictly adhering to the commitment he made in June 2017 not to be involved in Boeing matters. It said that in September 2017, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, approach Shanahan to brief him on a Boeing program.
"General Hyten told us that Mr. Shanahan said, 'Stop. That's a Boeing program. I can't talk about it.' General Hyten told us that he asked Mr. Shanahan, 'Not even conceptually about future capabilities?' and that Mr. Shanahan said, 'No, I can't talk about that at all.'"
It quoted Mattis, who was among former officials interviewed by the IG's office, as calling Shanahan "my ethical standard bearer" and "part of my solution when it came to ethical endurance."
The report said the IG received allegations about Shanahan from several sources.
In March, a watchdog group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed an ethics complaint with the IG. It alleged that Shanahan has appeared to make statements promoting Boeing and disparaging competitors, such as Lockheed Martin. This and all other allegations investigated by the IG were found to be unsubstantiated.
Shanahan, 56, joined Boeing in 1986, rose through its ranks and is credited with rescuing a troubled Dreamliner 787 program. He also led the company's missile defense and military helicopter programs.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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