(Corrects to invasion of Iraq in 11th paragraph, not Iran, as
* Boeing says national security could be hurt
* Cites 2005 EADS presence at Iran air show
* EADS says Boeing mounts "misinformation campaign"
(Adds EADS comment, quotes, byline)
By Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON, May 25 Boeing Co (BA.N) accused
rival EADS EAD.PA of having courted Iran and other countries
at odds with the United States and said this should figure in
awarding a potential $50 billion U.S. Air Force refueling plane
EADS, headquartered in Paris and Munich, "continues to do
business with countries that are not friendly to the United
States," Timothy Keating, Boeing's vice president of government
operations, told a small group of reporters.
He cited an EADS effort to market one of its helicopters at
an Iranian air show. The event in question took place in 2005,
Boeing officials later said, supplying the transcript and a
link to video of an NBC television report at the time.
"We have not seen any indication that EADS no longer has an
interest in marketing their military products to countries like
Iran," Daniel Beck, a Boeing spokesman, said in a followup
Keating and other Boeing executives urged U.S. officials to
factor national security into the competition for a new fleet
of tankers, used to refuel warplanes during flight.
A spokesman for EADS North American arm responded by
accusing Boeing of mounting "a misinformation campaign" in an
attempt to make the competition "about anything other than
getting the best tanker for the Air Force."
EADS' James Darcy said Boeing was calling into question the
U.S. Defense Department's judgment since it was "DoD that stood
up and said we could bid on KC-X as a prime" contractor.
"And that was based on their evaluation of a whole host of
factors, principal among which were national security
concerns," Darcy said.
The Defense Department did not immediately respond to a
request for a comment.
Boeing officials said the national security matter loomed
large now that Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N), EADS's partner in
a previous tanker competition, had dropped out.
This removed the leverage that the U.S. government would
have had to make sure of an uninterrupted flow of spare parts
for any Airbus tanker in case of a policy difference with
France and Germany, which hold stakes in EADS and which opposed
the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
"What leverage does the United States have over EADS North
America" the unit that would be the prime contractor, Keating
"A lot less than they would have over the Boeing Company"
which does a lot more business with Washington, he responded.
In the NBC television report that aired on Feb. 23, 2005,
an EADS representative, identified as Michel Tripier, said his
company was emphasizing its civil helicopters at the air show
on the Iranian island of Kish.
"As a European company, we're not supposed to take into
account embargoes from the U.S.," he said on camera at the
(Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)