We still have Donald Rumsfeld to kick around

The former defense secretary gets a government office and seven government-paid staffers.

By Tim Grieve
Published January 25, 2007 1:59PM (EST)

We can't miss him if he doesn't leave: Donald Rumsfeld, who announced his resignation as secretary of defense on Nov. 8, has set himself up in a transition office in Arlington, the Washington Times reports.

Rumsfeld is off the government payroll, but that's not to say that his new life is cost-free for the rest of us. The Department of Defense is paying the rent on his office and paying the salaries of seven -- seven! -- staffers who are working with him.

The justification? The Pentagon tells the Times that former secretaries are entitled to a transition office and staff in order to sort through their papers. That doesn't seem entirely unreasonable, but the devil is in the excessive details. As the Times notes, William Cohen, who was Bill Clinton's last defense secretary, managed to transition out of office with the help of just two Pentagon employees. And Cohen's predecessor, William Perry, left without a transition office at all; he returned immediately to his home in California, and his papers were sent out on compact discs.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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