AAI gives alternate view on ‘Boeing’s blogger blunder’

This week’s “Boeing blogging blunder” has at least two angles. The first is whether Doug Cantwell, a Boeing employee, misrepresented himself as an “independent blogger” to AUVSI when he applied for a press badge. Boeing is currently investigating that issue. But the second issue is a fact: Cantwell did not identify himself as a Boeing employee when he entered the press conferences held by two competitors, AAI Corp and Northrop Grumman.

In the subscriber-only Defense Daily article, Northrop spokesman Randy Belote called Cantwell’s press conference appearance “a breach of protocol” that is “both inappropriate and unfortunate”. Northrop is currently locked in a tense battle with Boeing over a tanker contract, where Boeing’s record of ethical conduct is hardly a minor issue.

Meanwhile, AAI is currently competing against Boeing for a $450 million contractto supply small tactical unmanned aircraft systems. AAI’s pressconference was focused on this issue. So what did Boeing’s other competitor think about Cantwell’s in cognito appearance? I called the spokeswoman for AAI’s Aerosonde UAV division, Sharon Corona, today to find out.

Corona confirmed that Cantwell did not identify himself as a Boeing employee, but instead as a reporter for defensedialogue.com, the web site that Boeing has considered launching in October. She discovered Cantwell’s true employer afterward when she noticed his Boeing email address on AUVSI’s roster of press attendees. Did this fact bother AAI?

“Well, no,” Corona replied. I asked: Really?

“It was our press conference,” she said. “Everything that we planned to say was in the public domain. I guess it would have been nice to know that he was a Boeing employee.”

Corona also said she double-checked, to be safe, the questions Cantwell asked during the press conference, but found no reason to raise alarms.


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4 Responses to AAI gives alternate view on ‘Boeing’s blogger blunder’

  1. airplanejim 21 August, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

    I was thinking along the lines of AAI’s response. If this was a public news briefing what does Boeing benefit by Cantwell being sent there “in cognito” vs. waiting until the press publishes the Northrup and AAI releases? Granted that it was a “breach of protocol” and should not have been done but it looks like Cantwell attended on his own volition, not at Boeing’s direction. I don’t know maybe I am being naive.

  2. Don Stroud 22 August, 2009 at 6:13 pm #

    Much ado about nothing?? Hope this doesn’t come down to egg on the face! I like this blog and hope this “scoop??” doesn’t pull the rug from under the previous good work. I work for a company and my off-hour activities involve professional organizations that I attend as a private citizen/ professional. I am a member of several professional organizations and am an officer on occaision and represent those prof. org. as an officer. None of these off-hour activities involve representing my present employer. Could this not be the same and not a dufous attempt at “industrial espionage”?? Good Luck and best wishes!

  3. Cod 23 August, 2009 at 1:33 am #

    I agree. I feel like this whole story unveiled like something straight off of TMZ.

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