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Officials: Nearly $2 million in guns, combat gear sold to gangs

Lindell Kay And Mike Mchugh – (The Daily News) – May 15, 2012 – A wide-reaching investigation by military and civilian authorities has uncovered a criminal conspiracy within the Armed Forces to steal and sell nearly $2 million in guns and combat gear to gangs in the U.S. and foreign countries including China, military officials have confirmed.

The probe began more than a year and a half ago when agents with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began to conduct undercover operations to disrupt and reduce the theft, transfer, sale and possession of stolen U.S. Government property. With the aid of Marine and Naval authorities, NCIS has recovered $1.8 million in stolen guns and combat gear to include assault rifles, night-vision goggles, flashlights and other items, military officials said.

Those involved are accused of stealing, over-ordering or otherwise obtaining equipment and selling guns locally and other gear over the Internet to people in foreign countries including China and Russia, officials said.

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TSA Failed To Enforce Key Homeland Security Screening Process

Photo: Emily Metcalf

Bill MCMorris – (Hawaii Reporter) – ALEXANDRIA – November 22, 2011 – Holiday travelers could receive enhanced pat-downs at the hands of Transportation Security Administration agents in the next few days, but TSA failed to enforce a key foreign pilot screening process that could have prevented the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

For several months in 2010, TSA and Department of Defense contractor Mantech International Corp.failed to enforce the Alien Flight Student Program, which performs threat assessments and background checks on about 35,000 non-citizens learning to fly every year.

“This hasn’t come back to bite us yet, but it only has to be one time,” said one source with direct knowledge of the program.

Another said of the broken screening program, “it was appalling. (Mantech was) hemorrhaging staff like crazy, and it kept getting worse and worse.”

That assessment was confirmed by other sources, all requesting anonymity because they feared their ties to the defense industry and Department of Homeland Security could be jeopardized.

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Where’s the fraud ceiling?… & other news

House probes policies on counterfeit military electronics
Michelle  M. Stein – (Medill News Service) – July 31, 2011 – WASHINGTON – Lawmakers from both parties are challenging the Department of Homeland Security over policies that they say impede efforts to stop imports of counterfeit electronics used in military devices.

The electronic chips, which act like the brain for many electronic devices, are one of the most counterfeited parts in the Pentagon’s supply chain, according to a Commerce Department report last year. That leaves the military technology that depends on them at a great risk of failure, which experts say has huge national security implications.

“It’s very clear that there are significant numbers of (counterfeit) semiconductors that are making it through to military supply chains,” said Brian Toohey, the president of the Semiconductor Industry Association, a lobbying group. “The implications (of) that, from a reliability perspective, from a failure perspective, are very serious.”

Failing parts aren’t the only national security concern with counterfeit chips, experts say. (Click HERE for article)

Military mentors program casualty of disclosure law
Tom Vanden Brook – (USA Today) – WASHINGTON – July 29, 2011 – The number of retired generals hired by the Pentagon to advise the military has declined dramatically now that they must divulge outside income to avoid a conflict of interest and had their pay capped, according to reports obtained by USA TODAY.

Now that they must divulge outside income and have their pay capped, the number of retired generals hired by the Pentagon to advise the military has declined dramatically.

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Ex-defense contractor indicted on charges of stealing and selling US military ammo in Iraq

Associated Press (AP) – RENO, Nev. – June 10, 2011 – A former employee of a Nevada-based defense contractor has been indicted on charges that he conspired with others to steal U.S. military ammunition in Iraq and then sell it back to Iraqis and U.S. forces.

Chad Eric O’Kelley was released on his own recognizance after being arrested at his Carson City home and making an initial appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Reno on charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and money laundering.

A federal grand jury indictment alleges O’Kelley was a manager in Baghdad with defense contractor Security Operations Consulting in early 2007 when he conspired with others to steal and sell the ammo and send cash shipments to the U.S. via Federal Express or couriers.

O’Kelley — whose job was to ensure that all bases of operation in Iraq under contract with SOC had ammunition and other supplies — at times sold the ammunition back to the U.S. and coalition forces effectively requiring the government to pay for the ammunition twice, federal prosecutors contend.

The indictment also alleges that O’Kelley and others shipped bulk currency, more than $10,000 at one time, derived from the sales in Iraq to the U.S. to distribute among the conspirators.

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Taxes – we pilfer from them but we won’t pay them & other news

Meanwhile, the owners and officers of some contractors that weren’t paying federal taxes had significant personal assets, including a sports team, a high-performance airplane, commercial properties, multimillion-dollar homes and luxury vehicles, the GAO said in its 2007 report. ~ Tom Shean – Virginian-Pilot~

History Facts for May 22

  • 1455 – King Henry VI was taken prisoner by the Yorkists at the Battle of St. Albans, during the War of the Roses.
  • 1900 – The Associated Press was incorporated as a non-profit news cooperative in New York.
  • 1977 – Janet Guthrie set the fastest time of the second weekend of qualifying, becoming the first woman to earn a starting spot in the Indianapolis 500 since its inception in 1911.
  • 1995 – Mr. and Ms Sparky were married
  • illustration by Jacob Thomas (Bloomberg)

    Tax requirement delayed, to the relief of companies
    Tom Shean – (The Virginian-Pilot) – May 22, 2011 – Companies doing business with the federal government have a bit more breathing room from what some say is an onerous tax provision.

    Earlier this month, the IRS delayed for another year a government plan for holding back 3 percent of the amounts paid to federal contractors.

    The program, designed to cover contractors’ tax liabilities, originally was scheduled to take effect at the beginning of 2011. The date was pushed back two years ago to 2012. Now it’s Jan. 1, 2013.

    Still, “it will be a cash-flow nightmare” for smaller defense contractors, especially those with modest profit margins, predicted Gregg N. Funkhouser, partner in charge of government contracting for the CPA firm Dixon Hughes Goodman.

    While the average profit margin for his defense-contractor clients is 7 percent, the margins for some are as low as 1 percent, and these companies likely will suffer, Funkhouser said during a presentation in Norfolk last week. (Click HERE for article)

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