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Reports & Investigations Archive

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Wasteful spending on Afghanistan’s security has continued to plague the U.S. government, with the latest revelation of nearly $7 million spent to maintain police vehicles that either were destroyed or inoperable. ~Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov

Ernesto Londoño – (The Washington Post) – January 17, 2013 – The U.S. government paid $6.8 million for maintenance of more than 7,000 Afghan police vehicles that had been destroyed or were out of commission, according to an inspector general report released Thursday.

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Former Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General Agent Admits Role in Records Falsification Scheme

(DoJ) – January 17, 2012 – A former special agent of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG) pleaded guilty today in a Southern District of Texas federal court to participating in a scheme to falsify records and to obstruct an internal field office inspection, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Wayne Ball, 40, of McAllen, Texas, entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane to one count of conspiracy to falsify records in federal investigations and to obstruct an agency proceeding.

DHS-OIG is the principal component within DHS with the responsibility to investigate alleged criminal activity by DHS employees, including corruption affecting the integrity of U.S. borders.  According to court documents, Ball served as a special agent with DHS-OIG at its McAllen Field Office from January 2009 to November 2012.

According to court documents, in September 2011, DHS-OIG conducted an internal inspection of the field office to evaluate Read the remainder of this entry »

Adam Zagorin – (POGO) – January 17, 2013 – Private guards responsible for protecting what may be the most at-risk U.S. diplomatic mission in the world — the embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan — say security weaknesses have left it dangerously vulnerable to attack.

In interviews and written communications with the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), current and former guards said a variety of shortcomings, from inadequate weapons training to an overextended guard force, have compromised security there — security provided under a half-a-billion-dollar contract with Aegis Defense Services, the U.S. subsidiary of a British firm. “[I]f we ever got seriously hit [by terrorists], there is no doubt in my mind the guard force here would not be able to handle it, and mass casualties and mayhem would ensue,” a guard serving at the embassy wrote in a late November message to POGO.

“[I]f we ever got seriously hit [by terrorists], there is no doubt in my mind the guard force here would not be able to handle it, and mass casualties and mayhem would ensue.”

In July, dissatisfaction boiled over when more than 40 members of the embassy’s Emergency Response Team signed a petition Read the remainder of this entry »

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Photo from the Guardian UK

Robert Beckhusen – (Wired – Danger Room) – January 9, 2012 – It’s been nearly a decade since private military contractors and U.S. soldiers worked together to torture Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Now, for the first time, one of the companies involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal has been forced to pay victims for the abuse.

The $5.28 million settlement — which was disclosed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in November but “which has gone essentially unnoticed,” according to the Associated Press — involves 71 former inmates of Abu Ghraib and other U.S.-run prisons, and private security firm L-3 Services Inc., a subsidiary of Engility Holdings of Chantilly, Virginia.

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Army drops suspension of contractor in criminal probe

Posted December 31, 2012 By Forseti

The Army reversed the suspension Nov. 15, allowing Camille Chidiac to bid for new federal contracts, including an extension of the propaganda contract in January.

Photo Leonie Industries’ Website

Tom Vanden Brook – (USA Today) – WASHINGTON — December 30, 2012 – The Army has lifted its suspension of the owner of its top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan, despite the Pentagon’s ongoing criminal investigation against him for late tax payments, treatment of his Afghan employees and an online smear campaign he launched against USA TODAY.

The Army had suspended Camille Chidiac, co-owner of Leonie Industries, in May after he admitted to setting up disparaging social media and web sites against two journalists from the newspaper. At the time, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered “appropriate action” taken against Chidiac, according Pentagon press secretary George Little, who called his actions “intolerable.”

The Army reversed the suspension Nov. 15, allowing Chidiac to bid for new federal contracts, including an extension of the propaganda contract in January. The Army, in a statement from spokesman Matthew Bourke, decided that Chidiac should be reinstated because the Army concluded that he conducted the smear campaign on his own time without Leonie’s resources. Chidiac put his ownership stake in a trust in an agreement reached with the Army. That prompted the Army to lift its suspension of Chidiac, according to Bourke.

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