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Byline: Renae Merle
To hear defense contractors describe her, Darleen A. Druyun was a formidable opponent, one of the most powerful women in the Pentagon and someone who could cripple a cherished program with a scornful eye. Her nickname, they say, was "Dragon Lady."
Druyun, a former weapons buyer for the Air Force, was also known to keep the interests of the industry's giants in mind, understanding that thriving contractors were necessary to ensure that vital Air Force contracts would be fulfilled. Now, her role in negotiating a lease with Boeing Co. for 100 tanker planes has drawn criticism from Capitol Hill.
That criticism centers on whether Druyun, while with the Air Force, became too close to the industry she was negotiating with on taxpayers' behalf. Congressional critics have charged she promoted the contract as welfare for a …