29 December 2002. Thanks to A.

It might interest your readers to understand the aggressive US tactics used to win the Lockheed F-16 deal with Poland last week.  Information from an official translator who has first-hand knowledge of various meetings reveals a cunning, forceful two-year campaign to prevent Poland from reaching a deal with rival contenders (the UK-Swedish offer of the Gripen fighter aircraft and the French offer of the Mirage 2000-5).  For obvious reasons, I cannot reveal more information about the translator or his/her place of work.  The following information is known:

- US Ambassador was one of the most aggressive proponents of the F-16 bid and he attended dozens of meetings intended to pressure Polish military and civilian leaders into accepting the deal;

- As early as August 2001, at a meeting at the US Embassy, two Polish foreign ministry consultants confirmed that the temporary Warsaw offices of Dassault and the Gripen consortium representatives would be subjected to electronic eavesdropping "by spring [2002]" (it appears from the statements that the surveillance of Dassault would be a joint US and Polish Ministry of Defense endeavor);

- In January 2002, a US Embassy team (incl. mil attaché) met with Col Nowak (Polish defense procurement department) to discuss the unreleased RFP and how Lockheed would revise their technology transfer offer (based on purchase rather than lease of aircraft).  The US officials also were adamant that Poland not refuse a new offer as it would jeopardize future FMS procurement opportunities for Poland;

- In early May 2002, a US Embassy consultant discussed with a Polish defense official how to discourage or weaken the participation by ETC-PZL and WZL-2 (two Polish companies) in the rival Gripen offer;

- In June 2002, a US DoD team attended an unofficial meeting at the Ministry of Defense (Warsaw) to discuss the possibility of reviewing a competing final bid (presumably Dassault's and/or Gripen's final bid and related confidential documentation) once they were submitted to the Polish government;

- In late July 2002, a US Defense Intelligence Agency official visited Minsk Mazowiecki air base to review and discuss with a Polish Air Force Colonel the results of technical capabilities and performance review of the Mirage 2000-5 as well as related confidential technology transfer information supplied by Dassault;

- In one meeting in late September 2002 between deputy foreign minister and two subordinates and two Lockheed officials (US Ambassador present for a portion of the meeting), the Polish official revealed that it accepted the conditions for the loans on the "telecom arrangement" (unknown details) and that he would press in favor of Lockheed to ensure that the telecom deal would happen.  The US side made it clear that the loans were contingent on the selection of the F-16;

- In late August 2002, a US Embassy meeting with one Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs official resulted in an oral agreement to submit to a third party the names and visa information of all Gripen International and Dassault personnel who had been in Poland during 2001 and 2002;

- A US delegation in October 2002 stated to officials of the Ministry of Economy that if Lockheed's offer was not successful, the US would block or substantially reduce World Bank and International Finance Corporation loan/assistance package worth an estimated $1.4 billion (measured over 2003-2005);

- A US delegation in December 2002 stated that if Lockheed's offer was not accepted, US DoD would limit or cancel further upgrades and maintenance work on two previously delivered surplus Perry Class frigates (donated to the Polish Navy in 2001 and 2002);

- At two separate informal meetings between US DoD and Lockheed officials and General Piatas and Under Secretary of State for Defense Towpik, US officials warned that the loss of the Lockheed deal would create "substantial setbacks" for Poland's activities within NATO which could prevent the placement of Polish military officials in special NATO committees and command structures;

- In the two weeks prior to Poland's decision favoring Lockheed's offer, several representatives of the US Military Attache to Warsaw repeatedly met with defense ministry officials to echo the warnings of consequences should the deal go to a rival.  In one specific call, the US official restated that Poland would not have preferential treatment in the reorganization of Baltic Sea deployments and planning should Lockheed fail in its bid.