Richard Perle, a former Reagan administration Pentagon official, resigned Thursday as chairman of the Defense Policy Board that is a key advisory arm for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
In a brief written statement, Rumsfeld thanked Perle for his service and made no mention of why Perle resigned. He said he had asked Perle to remain as a member of the board.
"He has been an excellent chairman and has led the Defense Policy Board during an important time in our history," Rumsfeld said. "I should add that I have known Richard Perle for many years and know him to be a man of integrity and honor."
Perle was an assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration. He took the advisory board chairman's post early in Rumsfeld's tenure.
Perle became embroiled in a recent controversy stemming from a New Yorker magazine article that said he had lunch in January with controversial Saudi-born businessman Adnan Khashoggi and a Saudi industrialist.
The industrialist, Harb Saleh Zuhair, was interested in investing in a venture capital firm, Trireme Partners, of which Perle is a managing partner. Nothing ever came of the lunch in Marseilles; no investment was made. But the New Yorker story, written by Seymour M. Hersh, suggested that Perle, a longtime critic of the Saudi regime, was inappropriately mixing business and politics.