A former Army officer from Colorado Springs, who blew the whistle on alleged contracting abuses in the U.S. missile-defense program, is in settlement talks with a military contractor that sued him for defamation.
Biff Baker, a retired Army Space Command lieutenant colonel, says he is considering a settlement offer made by SY Technology, a California-based contractor with offices in the Springs.
SY Technology sued Baker after a story appeared in the Independent in June, in which he claimed that military officials had improperly awarded contract work to the company.
Baker's allegations were investigated by the U.S. General Accounting Office, which ended up referring the matter to the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General. The Pentagon does not comment on its investigations, though Baker says his allegations are currently being looked into by the Army's Office of the Inspector General.
In its lawsuit, filed in the 4th Judicial District Court in El Paso County, SY Technology claims that Baker intentionally libeled and defamed the company by making false statements that hurt the company's ability to do business.
Baker maintains that all of his statements were true, but says he may consider agreeing to the settlement because he can't afford to hire a defense attorney. He declined to discuss the nature of the proposed settlement in detail.
"Basically, they want me to shut up," Baker said.
An attorney for SY Technology, Craig Richardson, did not respond to a request for comment.
Baker says he has until Dec. 7 to decide whether to settle the case.
-- Terje Langeland