Ney said on a travel disclosure form that the Feb. 20-23, 2003, trip to London was for "meetings regarding trade and international business matters."
Ney spokesman Brian Walsh told The Dispatch this year that Ney, who once taught English in Iran, is "very active in Middle East issues and certain countries in that region. (The trip) does have nationalsecurity dimensions, and as much as (Ney) would like to, he will not say any more beyond that."
Yesterday, Walsh elaborated: "There were sensitive issues on matters of international trade discussed at these meetings and it would simply be inappropriate to air them out in the media. . . . There was nothing inappropriate whatsoever about this trip and the fact that yet another story is being written without any allegation that there was something inappropriate is completely ridiculous."
However, a lobbying expert for a Washington watchdog group, the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity, said that although it’s possible there were national-security aspects to Ney’s trip, the initial declaration that it was about trade matters and FN Aviation’s hiring of lobbyists with connections to Ney raises questions.
"You have to wonder what was really taking place there," said Alex Knott, the center’s Lobby Watch project director. "Was it a matter of national security or a situation where they were trying to influence a highranking member of Congress to help them out?"
If you believe that Ney was on some super secret security trip, then I'd like to sell you some swamp land. The only security that Ney and his lackey, Brian Walsh, are interested in is their own JOB SECURITY.