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Egyptian military aid still flying high

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planeThe planned delivery of 20 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter planes to Egypt is the perfect symbol of iron triangles at work--special interests and their lobbyists, federal agencies and the lawmakers who fund them.

But in the years since President Dwight Eisenhower delivered his warning about the inertia of defense contracts in 1961, the lobbying has only grown more sophisticated.

The U.S. government gives Egypt foreign aid, which it uses to buy U.S. military hardware. Lobbyists for the Egyptian government and Lockheed Martin (they both used the same firm) arranged meetings between the buyer and the seller, between representatives of Egypt's military and the Defense Department and key members of Congress who provided Egypt with the U.S. taxpayer dollars--some $213 million--to pay for the planes.

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