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Pentagon Fraud – “This has got to stop”

Photo: Office of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

The Senate has approved several amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3254), which will bring greater transparency and accountability to federal contracting. The amendments, which OMB Watch endorsed, would:

  • Strengthen whistleblower protections for federal contractors and grantees, which ensures that employees of contractors and grantees cannot be fired or punished for reporting misconduct, modeled after the protections pioneered in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – sponsored by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
  • Require the Defense Department to publish its “revolving door” database of senior department officials who seek employment with defense contractors – sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
  • Require the Defense Department to conduct an annual study on defense contracting fraud, including an assessment of its business with contractors previously penalized for fraud against the government and recommendations for reform – sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV)

~ Senate Passes Amendments to Shed Light on Contractor Misbehavior

The Senate on Friday agreed to make the Pentagon compile annual reports on contracting fraud. The provision by Sen. Bernie Sanders was added to a Department of Defense authorization bill. Another Sanders amendment added to the bill today would make public a list of senior military officials who leave the government and land on the payrolls of defense contractors. “This country has a $16 trillion national debt. It is unacceptable that the Department of Defense continues to lose vast sums of taxpayer money because of fraud perpetrated by major defense contractors. This has got to stop,” Sanders said.

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The naked truth about transparency and other news…

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)

The Dog Ate My Performance Report

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.

But Manning’s attorney, David E. Coombs, said he thought the order was “punitive” under the “guise of being concerned” about Manning’s welfare. (Click HERE for article)

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.

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