Thursday, May 26, 2005

Dr. Strangeskunk

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Jeff Baxter, Doobie Brother, dazzles the combat jocksniffers in Congress:

"Most of Hollywood is from the liberal, 'let's hug the tree and be warm and fuzzy and sing Kumbaya,' bent," Mr. Weldon says. "You put Jeff Baxter up against them, and he cleans their clocks because he actually knows the facts and details." He has appeared in public debates and given numerous press and TV interviews on CNN and Fox News advocating missile defense. He also served as a national spokesman for Americans for Missile Defense, a coalition of conservative organizations devoted to the issue.

Mr. Baxter, backed by several lawmakers, got a series of classified security clearances. During one background interview, Mr. Baxter says, he was asked whether he could be bribed with money or drugs. He recalls telling the investigators not to worry because he had already "been there, done that, and given away the T-shirt" during his rock career.

His old friend Mr. Weldon chaired the House Military Research and Development Subcommittee, and in 1995 nominated Mr. Baxter to chair the Civilian Advisory Board for Ballistic Missile Defense, a congressional panel.

The missile-defense post led to consulting contracts with the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon also began regularly asking Mr. Baxter to lead enemy forces in war games, where he quickly earned a reputation for using creative, terrorist-style tactics. "I'm told I make a very good bad guy," he says.

Pentagon officials say they appreciate Mr. Baxter's creativity. "He's imparted some new ways of thinking about the ballistic-missile threat and the technology that might be necessary to defeat it," says MDA spokesman Rick Lehner. "It's been a good interchange of information."

In the late 1990s, Mr. Baxter led a fictional future alliance of Iran and Iraq that was trying to drive the U.S. Navy from the key oil-shipping routes through the Persian Gulf. Facing a massive military imbalance, Mr. Baxter had covert operatives introduce oil-eating bacteria into the Saudi Arabian oil supply that rendered its petroleum shipments worthless. The Navy was forced to pull out after oil-dependent American allies threatened to pull their financial assets out of the U.S.

These days, Mr. Baxter finds himself with a growing pile of job offers from Pentagon officials and defense contractors hoping he can help them anticipate terrorist tactics and strategies.

Mr. Baxter is working on a solo album and continues to do lucrative studio work, most recently on tribute albums to Pink Floyd and Aerosmith, but he spends more and more time doing defense work. He says he earns a "good, comfortable, six-figure income," and in 2004 made more money from defense consulting than from music.


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