December 20, 2019
Every day for the past nine weeks, citizens have been going to Senator Leahy’s Burlington office to speak the truth to him. Specifically, we read to his staff (he was never there or he was unwilling to hear from us in person) quotations from the Air Force official record, called the “Administrative Record,” that contain the emails, briefings, documents, letters, memos, etc., that were exchanged during the 2009-2013 F-35 Burlington basing selection process. As part of a lawsuit we brought against the Secretary of the Air Force, the federal judge directed the Air Force to disclose these officials records. In the spring of 2018, eleven local women went through the over 68,000 documents that the Air Force released.
Beginning in mid-October, we have been reading aloud some of the quotations from the Administrative Records that show what Senator Leahy, his staff, and the Vermont Air National Guard did to interfere in the basing process. We also read many statements from Air Force basing experts who stated unequivocally that the F-35 should not be based in Burlington. They repeatedly wrote that the evidence showed that Burlington was the wrong location both environmentally and operationally to base the F-35, and they recommendedthat another Air National Guard Station — McEntire in South Carolina— be selected for the F-35 rather than Burlington.
In addition to reading these truths to the Senator, citizens also asked him at least 43 times to respond to this information, as well as to initiate an independent investigation into the basing process. The Senator has yet to reply to either of these requests.
The quotations we read and presented to Senator Leahy from October 15 to December 20, 2019 follow.