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Scott Amey – (POGO) – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the agency responsible for protecting investors and economic markets, has awarded millions of dollars to top 100 federal contractor Booz Allen Hamilton for management support services. According to Reuters, some lawmakers and SEC insiders are questioning the fiscal wisdom of the SEC’s decision.
“If they’re not careful, agencies can spend billions of taxpayer dollars on outside studies and contractors and have nothing to show for it,” Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) told Reuters, adding that “The SEC appears to be headed down this path in hiring a consultant to implement another consultant’s work.”
As Reuters reports, Booz Allen consultants are costing the SEC anywhere from $100 an hour to over $300 an hour and are being paid an average of $140 per hour as compared to $93 per hour for SEC staff. That’s a differential of over 50 percent, which over a year is a cost premium of nearly $100,000 to have Booz perform those jobs.
We the People Petition - War profiteering has never been so profitable for the wrongdoer and so dangerous for our troops and the taxpayer! (SIGN HERE)
First Iran exiles leave Ashraf camp in Iraq
About 400 Iranian exiles have been transferred from their long-held camp in north-western Iraq.
They are members of the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) , based at Camp Ashraf since the 1980s.
It is the first step of a process that aims to see the entire 3,400-strong community expelled from Iraq.
But members of this advance party are complaining bitterly that their treatment has fallen far short of that promised by the UN and US.
The exiles, who are opposed to Iran’s Shia clerical rulers, were welcomed by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein but have fallen out of favour with Iraq’s new Shia-dominated leadership.
Relations with the Iraqi government deteriorated still further last April, when an Iraqi army raid on the camp left 34 residents dead, according to the UN.
At first, they refused to countenance leaving Camp Ashraf, but the UN has been trying to broker a compromise. In December the group’s Paris-based head Maryam Rajavi agreed that a first contingent of 400 would move in what she called a “goodwill gesture”.
The Iraqi government has extended a deadline for the camp to be shut down to the end of April.
On Saturday, the first group arrived at Camp Liberty near Baghdad, but complained that they had been searched for almost an entire day before they were allowed to leave Ashraf, and had been searched again on arrival at Camp Liberty. (Click HERE for article)
Ex-soldier gets 15 years for sexual abuse of minor in 1990s
Army investigated in 1996, but no charges were filed
Casey Grove – (Anchorage Daily News) – February 17th, 2012 – An Anchorage man who admitted to sexually abusing a girl in the 1990s while stationed in the Lower 48 and Germany was sentenced Wednesday to serve 15 years in federal prison.
If transparency—including public access to past performance information—were added to the process, maybe the government would be deterred from awarding taxpayer dollars to risky contractors and the contractors would improve their performance. But then again, maybe these contractors are too big too fail. – Scott Amey, General Counsel Project On Government Oversight (POGO)
In brig, WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning ordered to sleep without clothing
Ellen Nakashima – (Washington Post) – March 6, 2011 – Military jailers are forcing Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old soldier accused of passing classified documents to WikiLeaks.org, to strip naked in his cell at night and sleep without clothing, a requirement his attorney says was imposed after Manning made a “sarcastic quip” about his confinement.
For most of the past eight months, Manning has been required to sleep wearing only boxer shorts, because of his status as a detainee under “prevention of injury watch,” said 1st Lt. Brian Villiard, a spokesman for the military detention facility, or “brig,” in Quantico. Beginning Wednesday night, the facility commander ordered that Manning turn over his boxers, too.
“The intention is not to cause any sort of humiliation or embarrassment,” Villiard said. “The intention is to ensure the safety and security of the detainee and make sure he is able to stand trial.”
Villiard said he could not explain how Manning might harm himself if he were allowed to keep his underwear, citing rules to protect detainees’ privacy. All he could say was that “circumstances warranted” the measure, which was ordered by the brig commander, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Denise Barnes. The requirement will remain in effect until a review next week, he said.
Lawmakers criticize military funeral protesters
Ben Terris – (National Journal) – March 4, 2011 – Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who won a Supreme Court ruling this week supporting their right to protest military funerals, are misusing their right to free speech, say Senate Armed Services Committee members Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Sen. Mark Begich, Alaska.
SAN FRANCISCO, April 22 (Reuters) – Halliburton Co said it could scrap its indemnification of KBR Inc for penalties related to corruption charges prior to their separation if KBR opts to handle the government probes itself.
A KBR joint venture is in talks with Britain’s Serious Fraud Office to settle an investigation into bribes paid to Nigerian officials between 1994 and 2004 to secure $6 billion in contracts for the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas project.
KBR and Halliburton reached a $579 million U.S. settlement over Bonny Island, and France, Nigeria and Switzerland are conducting their own investigations into the case.
But in its latest filing with U.S. financial regulators on Thursday, Halliburton included a phrase for the first time on the possibility of ending its indemnity of KBR, an engineering company that split from the oilfield services giant in 2007.
“As a condition of our indemnity, we have control over the investigation, defense, and/or settlement of these matters,” Halliburton said in the quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, referring to the Bonny Island probes.
“We have the right to terminate the indemnity in the event KBR elects to take control over the investigation, defense, and/or settlement or refuses to agree to a settlement negotiated and presented by us,” Halliburton said.
Halliburton has estimated its remaining obligation to KBR under the indemnity at $72 million.
A KBR spokeswoman declined to comment, but said its own disclosure would be included in a filing to accompany its first-quarter earnings next Thursday. (Click HERE for original article)
Contractor linked to Iraq death loses $25M in fees
By KIMBERLY HEFLING
Associated Press Writer
Feb 24, 10:42 PM EST
WASHINGTON (AP) — Military contractor KBR has lost about $25 million in bonuses from the government because of “failed” worked done in Iraq during the time a Green Beret was electrocuted in a barracks shower it was responsible for maintaining.
The U.S. Army Sustainment Command said in a statement released to The Associated Press Wednesday night that the Houston-based company failed to meet a level deserving of an award fee payment for work it did during the first four months of 2008. Award fees are written into contracts as an incentive for the contractors to do quality work.
The Army statement did not specifically mention the January 2008 death of 24-year-old Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth of Pittsburgh in the statement but said a task force that has extensively reviewed electrical work in Iraq was consulted in making the decision as was the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, which investigated Maseth’s death, but did not press charges against KBR.
Dan Carlson, a spokesman for the Army Sustainment Command, said in an e-mail that “multiple factors” led to the decision. Read the remainder of this entry »