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On Jan. 4, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld opened a government-provided transition office in Arlington and has seven Pentagon-paid staffers working for him, a Pentagon official told The Washington Times.

The Pentagon lists Rumsfeld as a “nonpaid consultant,” a status he needs in order to review secret and top-secret documents, the paper reported the official as saying.

In its Thursday editions, the Times reported that Rumsfeld and his aides, who include close adviser Stephen Cambone, are sifting through the thousands of pages of documents generated during his tenure.

The Pentagon official told the paper that former secretaries are entitled to a transition office to sort papers, some of which can be taken with them for a library, for archives or to write a book.

The transition office has raised some eyebrows inside the Pentagon, the Times wrote. Some question the size of the staff, which includes two military officers and two enlisted men. They also ask why the sorting could not have been done from the time Rumsfeld resigned Nov. 8 to when he left the building Dec. 18.

The Pentagon official, who asked not to be named, told the Times that Rumsfeld accumulated an above-average pile of paper, given that he served nearly six years as secretary, more than any other defense chief but one.

The Times reported that Rumsfeld, who resigned under pressure after Republicans lost control of Congress in an election largely decided on the stalemated Iraq war, reportedly is undecided about his long-term plans.

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