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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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Secret squirrels squandering tax dollars & other news

One project that attracted high-level scrutiny last year: a program started by DoD senior civilian strategist Michael Furlong that hired professional contractors to scoop up information in Afghanistan. Furlong, an ex-Army officer, said through his attorney Nancy Luque that the project was approved by Army Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and by the newly nominated Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus. – JIEDDO: The Manhattan Project that bombed

In effort to stop roadside bombs, Pentagon hires 1,666 contractors
Peter Cary & Nancy A. Youssef – (Center for Public Integrity & McClatchy Newspapers) – WASHINGTON – March 27, 2011 – Launched in February 2006 with an urgent goal — to save U.S. soldiers from being killed by roadside bombs in Iraq — a small Pentagon agency ballooned into a bureaucratic giant fueled by that flourishing arm of the defense establishment: private contractors.

An examination by the Center for Public Integrity and McClatchy of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization revealed an agency so dominated by contractors that the ratio of contractors to government employees has reached six to one.

A JIEDDO former director, Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, acknowledged that such an imbalance raised the possibility that contractors in management positions could approve proposals or payments for other contractors. Oates said the ratio needed to be reduced.

The 1,900-person agency has spent nearly $17 billion on hundreds of high-tech and low-tech initiatives and had some successes, but it’s failed to significantly improve soldiers’ ability to detect roadside bombs, which have become the No. 1 killer of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. (Click HERE for article)

In the line of duty
Former cop Mark Mitchell’s exploits in the Middle East sound like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster – but has he got what it takes to make it as a politician?

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