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Star Creeps: Petraeus & the Price of the Top-Heavy Pentagon

Ben Freeman – (POGO) – November 21, 2012 – In addition to extramarital affairs and “flirtatious e-mails,” the General Petraeus sex scandal highlighted another of the Pentagon’s dirty little secrets – generals live like billionaires, and taxpayers are footing the bill.

As the Washington Post reported on Saturday, these perks “befitting a billionaire,” include, “palatial homes, drivers, security guards and aides to carry their bags, press their uniforms and track their schedules in 10-minute increments. Their food is prepared by gourmet chefs. If they want music with their dinner parties, their staff can summon a string quartet or a choir.”

Lavish perks bestowed to generals increase with higher ranks, as Raymond Dubois, former DoD director of Administration and Management from 2002 to 2005, told Air Force Times. “A four-star has an airplane. A three-star often doesn’t…Can a three-star get an airplane when he needs it? Not always. Does a four-star get an airplane when he needs it? Always. Many times he’ll already have a G5 sitting on the runway, gassed up. There are the kinds of costs that are fairly significant when you add them all up,” according to Dubois.

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Short changing taxpayers and other news

The State Department has never faced a challenge anywhere close to this magnitude, and I am concerned that the current plan could therefore expose billions of taxpayers’ dollars supporting diplomatic and development goals in Iraq to the risk of being lost, wasted or stolen.

While the State Department will continue to rely initially on the Defense Department for some basic capabilities, it will ultimately turn to an army of contractor personnel to provide services ranging from essential physical security to fact-of-life support, such as food and laundry. Indeed, of the 16,000 U.S. personnel that will comprise the U.S. civilian presence in Iraq after this year, it is estimated that nearly 14,000 of them will be contractors. ~Senator John McCain, letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

Sikorsky Made Excess Profit on Pentagon Parts Sold to Army
Tony Capaccico –  (Bloomberg) – November 4, 2011 - Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. made excess profit selling the U.S. Army helicopter parts that it bought at a lower price from the Pentagon’s primary supply agency, the Defense Department’s inspector general says.

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13 Americans believed killed in Kabul bombing (updated 11-4-2011)

Attack Near UN Offices in Southern Afghanistan Kills 5
October 31st, 2011 – The United Nations’ refugee agency says three of its employees are among the five people killed in a suicide bombing in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said those killed included three UNHCR security guards and two security contractors. Two guards were also injured in the attack early Monday.

Authorities say one attacker detonated a vehicle full of explosives near buildings used by the UNHCR and the U.S.-based International Relief and Development organization.

After the blast, three gunmen rushed into the area and seized control of an animal clinic. Afghan officials say security forces exchanged gunfire with the men for more than six hours before the attackers were killed. (Click HERE for article)

Two British Civilian Contractors killed worked for Fluor
October 31, 2011

The British contractors were named locally as Stephen Brown, 52, and David Quinn, 34. Both men were electricians, employed by the Texas-based engineering company Fluor. Their bodies were due to be repatriated last night. “The company has notified the families involved,” said Fluor spokesman Keith Stephens. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and loved ones of our co-workers. Right now our focus is helping them.” (click HERE for original article)

Habib Zohori – (McClatchy Newspapers) – KABUL, Afghanistan – October 29, 2011 – At least 17 people — including as many as 13 Americans — were killed Saturday when a Taliban suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into an armored NATO military bus on a busy road in the Afghan capital.

The International Security Assistance Force said that five of its soldiers and eight civilian contractors working for the U.S.-led coalition had been killed, and news services reported that all were American. It would make it the deadliest day for Americans in Afghanistan since August, when 30 U.S. soldiers died in the downing of a Chinook helicopter in the eastern part of the country.

The attack demonstrated the continuing ability of Taliban insurgents to stage shocking attacks against coalition forces and civilians. U.S. Marine Gen. John R. Allen, commander of ISAF, said he was “saddened and outraged” by the attacks and said that the insurgents were trying “to hide the fact that they are losing territory, support and the will to fight.”

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