Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio), not much known as a liberal flame thrower, has fired off a letter to Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger objecting to Navy "threats and bullying" that led a defense contractor to dismiss one of its lobbyists.
Glenn, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, described the "Larry Korb affair" as part of a pattern of administration intolerance of dissent.
"If those who disagree with this administration on defense spending, or Central America, or virtually any other national security policy -- happen to be members of Congress, the administration questions their patriotism," Glenn wrote in a letter that Weinberger received yesterday. "If they happen to be in the private sector, you apparently are now going after their jobs."
Lawrence J. Korb, who served as assistant defense secretary for manpower from 1981 to 1985, left the Pentagon to work for Raytheon Co., a major defense contractor. When he took part in a private study that predicted cuts in the arms budget and suggested how to distribute them, senior Navy officials complained to Raytheon, which subsequently let Korb go.
Navy Secretary John F. Lehman Jr. last week defended his aides' calls to Raytheon, saying Korb's comments were a "personal affront."
The Pentagon said a response is in the works.