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Keep-Out Zone: Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday made another plea for politics to be kept out of the Air Force's KC-X tanker competition. "We want a fair and open competition for the tanker," Gates told reporters in London during his stop in Britain as part of his ongoing European trip. Gates was asked about the recent press reports that US companies might be hesitant to join EADS North America's tanker team out of fear of political backlash from Congress. "Frankly," he continued, "efforts to discourage US companies from participating in that competition, I think, do not help us.  . . . I hope that we will be able to go forward with this with a fair, transparent competition and finally get a tanker." (See Lost in Translation? above) (Gates transcript)