Rumsfeld’s Transition Office
Rowan Scarborough reports that “some” eyebrows are being raised by the creation of a transition office for former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that is being staffed and funded at taxpayer expense, including a staff of seven.
While DoD says former secretaries are “entitled to a transition office to sort papers, some of which can be taken with them for a library, for archives or to write a book,” his two immediate predecessors did not take advantage of it to this extent. Bill Perry went straight to teaching and had no transition and had a very small staff and closed the office in six weeks. “They also ask why the sorting could not have been done from the time Mr. Rumsfeld resigned Nov. 8 to when he left the building Dec. 18.”
The simple answer–in addition to Rumsfeld’s much longer tenure and propensity for memo writing mentioned in the article–is that there’s a war on. Rumsfeld could not well have turned his attention to cleaning out his desk his last six weeks in office. And, given that most of his tenure was during a time of war, there are many more documents that might have historical significant for archival and/or memoir writing purposes.
If the office is still in existence a year from now, or there are signs of malfeasance, I’ll be concerned. Right now, though, it seems a perfectly reasonable allowance to make for someone who served in such an important capacity.