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We’re Back and other news

Not-Quite-Lost Shipping Containers May Cost Feds
Lorraine Bailey – (Courthouse News) – May 17, 2013 – A fourth company will join the fight to prove that the government lied about losing 1,000 leased shipping containers so it could keep using them without paying, a federal judge ruled.

Three container companies, CAI International, Cronos Containers and Textainer Equipment Management, had leased shipping containers to TOPtainer, which in turn leased the containers to the U.S. Army for equipment shipments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Wednesday, Judge Nancy Firestone with the Court of Federal Claims joined

Capital Lease to the case because it had been Textainer’s supplier.

They claim that the government told TOPtainer that it lost 1,000 when its lease was up, and paid TOPtainer for the loss, but TOPtainer never remitted that money to its suppliers and is now defunct.

The container companies say that the government took the title to their property without paying just compensation.

Capital also “presented undisputed evidence to the court to show that 125 containers that had been owned by Capital and were now the subject of plaintiff Textainer’s claim were never ‘lost,’ but were instead sent to Okinawa, Japan and thus appeared to have been ‘taken’ outside the terms of the master lease,” Judge Firestone wrote. (Click HERE for article) (Click HERE for Judge’s Order)

Soldier Given Second Shot at Suing Gun Maker
Rose Bouboushian – (Courthouse News) – April 3, 2013 – A soldier who was injured when his M2 machine gun exploded and a shell casing pierced his leg will get a chance to hone his federal lawsuit against the gun’s manufacturer.

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Former CSA employee Barry S. Szafran pleads guilty to accepting kickbacks

The press release does not list the name of the “prime contractor” but I was able to find this information on JobNet:

Combat Support Associates, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait / Alarm Services Manager
Name  Barry Szafran
Employer   Combat Support Associates, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait
Position   Alarm Services Manager
Dates   February, 2008 – Current
Job Category   Full Time
Responsibilities   an 11 MAN team responsible for the repair, installation, and maintenance of over 300 Fire Alarm Control Systems. Managed and coordinated all plans of new construction and building conversions / refits in accordance with NFPA 25, 72 and 101 (Click HERE for link) 

CSA employees past and present, feel free to provide any info you have and would like to share regarding this.   ~Forseti

Jewett City Man Pleads Guilty to Accepting Kickbacks From Military Supplier in Kuwait
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Barry S. Szafran, 49, of Jewett City, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to one count of illegally receiving a gratuity.  The charge relates to Szafran’s accepting kickbacks from a foreign supplier of fire safety systems to a military base in Kuwait in Iraq.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Szafran was the civilian fire alarm manager at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, for a prime contractor for the U.S. Army on a government-owned, contractor-operated base.  In this position, Szafran had a leading role in maintaining an adequate supply of repair/replacement parts for fire safety systems for the facility.  In pleading guilty, Szafran admitted that, from April 2008 to April 2009, he repeatedly provided favorable treatment to a local parts vendor, which was a subcontractor for a larger supplier, in connection with certain contracts.  During this time period, Szafran received things of value from the local parts vendor, including a round-trip airplane ticket between Kuwait and Rhode Island, meals and scented candles.

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US Woman Gloria Hastings and CSA employee arrested in Kuwait on drug chargesCSA

(L) unamed Bangladeshi partner (R) Un-named American civilian employee of the US Army

US woman and Bangladeshi in drug trade

Police recently arrested an American woman and a Bangladeshi for trading in drugs.

After receiving information about an American woman (Gloria Hastings) – a civilian employee in the US Army (actually a CSA employee) who was allegedly selling drugs, a team of security officers from the Drug Control General Department (DCGD) put her under surveillance. The team later instructed an undercover agent to buy marijuana from the suspect, who agreed to meet the agent at an undisclosed location to complete the bogus deal. She was arrested during the entrapment operation.

During interrogation, the woman admitted the crime and told police that she obtained the drugs from a Bangladeshi. She provided police with information on the whereabouts of her supplier, who was also arrested with a large quantity of drugs in his possession. (click HERE for original article) If you have more information on this case such as the name of this woman I would love to publish it. There is also the possibility she is an employee of a US Defense contractor currently in Kuwait.

US woman insults officer at airport

KUWAIT CITY, April 17: Securitymen at the Kuwait International Airport referred an American woman to Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh Police Station for insulting a passport officer on her arrival at the airport, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily.
The woman, who is Deputy Manager at a private educational academy in Kuwait, was high on alcohol during the episode. (click HERE for original article)

“You’re not in Kansas anymore!!” A lot of people don’t think “that” law applies to them when they leave the wonderful United States of America. Unless you have a Diplomatic Passport you DO NOT have diplomatic immunity. And even then, immunity is most likely limited. In many many countries you can be arrested for what we Americans would consider insignificant offenses. Drug trafficking is a serious offense everywhere I do suspect this woman will be doing some time in a Kuwaiti prison.

Now, how many of us who have done any international travel have not gotten intoxicated on the plane? Although rude, childish and unacceptable, who has never given their unsolicited personal opinion to airport staff in some airport somewhere around the world. I can remember traveling home from Iraq on an R&R and was connecting through Paris, France. I got pulled by French airport security to play a long and drawn out game of 20 questions about why I was traveling from Baghdad. They acted as if not other American expat coming from Baghdad had connected through Paris. I guess they humor in my response of “Just vacationing at my summer villa!”  Even after I showed them my CAC card they pressed on with the questions. They held me right up until they were getting ready to close the doors.

The moral of this story is…..”Just bite your damn tongue and don’t get mouthy at an airport!”

Ms Sparky

ITT awarded Kuwait Base Operations and Security Support Services (K-BOSSS)

According to a letter from the Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center the Kuwait Base Operations and Security Support Services (K-BOSSS) contract W52P1J-09-R-0065 has been awarded to ITT Federal Services International Corporation.

The Government received five (5) timely proposals and one (1) late proposal. Of the five (5) competitive proposals, one was eliminated from the competitive range.

The determination of contract award was based on the overall best value to the Government among the four offers in the competitive range.

K-BOSSS is one of three contracts that will replace the current Combat Support Services Contract-Kuwait (CSSC-K) contract #DASA02-99-C-1234 held by Combat Support Services (CSA) in Kuwait. The three contracts replacing CSSC-K are Kuwait Base Operation Security Support Services, Ammunition Supply Point, and Supply Support Activity. The CSSC-K contract was to end September 30, 2010 unless it is extended again. The total amount of CSA’s CSSC-K contract has approached $3.5 billion since first awarded in 1999.

According to FedBizOpps.gov the amount of the contract is $75 Million! I don’t know what the length of the contract is for and how many options are available.

Regarding the recent scathing DoDIG Report regarding CSA’s lax security on the CSSC-K contract, one has to wonder if that weighed in on the Governments award decision. Not knowing for sure if they even bid, I wonder if it was their proposal that was eliminated.

Let the protests begin!!

Ms Sparky

DoD contractor CSA jeopardizes military mission due to lax security

DoD: Civilian contractors in Kuwait didn’t have proper clearances

From Charley Keyes, CNN Senior Producer September 22, 2010

Washington (CNN) — A new Defense Department report says many civilian contractors working in Kuwait didn’t have proper clearances and could have jeopardized the safety of U.S. military personnel and undermined national security.

The Defense Department Inspector General said dozens of contractors worked in sensitive positions without security clearances or the official passes they needed. And some of those people, according to the report, were allowed to remain on the job even after inspectors uncovered the security problems.

The report says a company called Combat Support Associates (CSA) was awarded the contract in 1999 for what was called Combat Support Services Contract-Kuwait (CSSC-K). The contract was extended and is due to expire at the end of September after costing the government more than $3.3 billion dollars.

“CSSC-K contractor employees occupied sensitive positions such as force protection officers, system administrators, and supply inspectors in Kuwait without obtaining security clearances,” the report says.

The department’s inspector general says the company’s security office failed to track 21 of 379 employees who were in sensitive positions, such as ammunition supply, and that 11 employees did not have a valid security clearance. In addition there was no information whether some of the employees had a U.S. passport, although U.S. citizenship was required by the contract.

“Additionally, CSA officials allowed 20 employees to remain in sensitive positions without the required security clearance after its internal quality assurance office and DCMA ( the Defense Contract Management Agency, overseeing the contract) officials informed CSA officials that they were in violation of the contract,” the report says. “If DCMA and contractor officials do not ensure that all employees have the required security clearances and maintain proper security information, they jeopardize the military mission and threaten the safety and security of the military, civilian, and contractor personnel in Kuwait.”

CNN was unable to contact representatives of the contractor. The inspector general’s report says the company claims it did not understand the terms of the agreement.

“According to CSA’s human resources information system analyst, the Army did not clearly define or designate all sensitive positions; therefore, CSA officials relied on their own department managers to determine which positions required a security clearance,” the report says.

And the report suggests the Army and Pentagon’s oversight of the contract may have been lacking.

“If the Army does not ensure that all contractor employees have the required security clearances and maintain proper security information, these employees pose a threat to the military, civilian, and U.S. contractor personnel in Kuwait, as well as to national security,” the report says. (click HERE for original article)