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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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KGL – A Test Case on Sanctions?

Despite Ongoing Federal Probe, Pentagon Asserts Big Contractor Has No Iranian Ties

A Whistleblower Alleges Death Threats

Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Company (KGL), a major U.S. military contractor, is facing renewed allegations that it is working with Iran, possibly violating U.S. sanctions. In the political climate where sanctions on Iran are one of the few things people can agree on, KGL may become a test case for what happens when a U.S. contractor violates those sanctions.

Adam Zagorin – (POGO) – April 4, 2012 – If there’s one thing most Americans support in foreign policy, it’s sanctions against Iran to halt its alleged drive for nuclear weapons. From President Obama to Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich, leading candidates all want to put the economic squeeze on Tehran and to signal their support for Israel. President Obama recently announced he will ratchet up sanctions on the country’s oil exports and declared a “national emergency” to deal with the Islamic Republic. The Senate will try to iron out its differences over anti-Iran measures in coming weeks, as bus stations around Washington, DC, are studded with advertisements questioning the President’s resolve on the issue.

In this politicized environment, the last thing any candidate or legislator would countenance is gobs of U.S. taxpayer money going to a military contractor caught doing business with the Islamic Republic. Indeed, Congress specifically addressed that possibility in 2010, when contractors were required to certify in writing that they have no ties to Iran’s sanctioned enterprises.

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Tyrants of the Pentagon and other news

Pentagon personnel chief investigated for ‘tyrannical’ leadership
Megan Scully – (GovExec) – August 19, 2011 – The Pentagon inspector general is investigating Clifford Stanley, the official charged with overseeing the Defense Department’s massive personnel bureaucracy, after a spate of highly detailed allegations of gross mismanagement and abuse of power. He’s accused of firing respected senior staff, neglecting programs for wounded troops, and using limited funds on expensive consultants and a lavish new conference room.

Senior civilian and military officials filed at least four separate complaints with the IG’s office and to Capitol Hill since May, alleging that Stanley, the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, has hurt the military’s ability to deliver crucial services to troops and their families. Stanley, a retired two-star Marine Corps general, has been on the job since February 2010.

Stanley did not respond to email and phone messages seeking comment for this article. Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said “the department is aware of the allegations and takes them seriously.” She added, “As a matter of policy, the DoDIG does not confirm or deny the existence of, or comment upon investigations or investigative issues.”

In the complaints, four of which were obtained by National Journal, Stanley is portrayed as vindictive, wasteful, and unfit for service. The officials charge in their complaints that he has largely ignored pervasive problems such as sexual assault and the rising rates of suicides among military personnel. Other senior officials outside Stanley’s office have stepped in to handle some of his core responsibilities, according to a July 11 complaint filed by unidentified senior civilians and military personnel. (Click HERE for article)

FOIA Friday: Audit of Texas Prison Factory That Made Flawed Army Combat Helmets
Andre Francisco – (POGO) – August 19, 2011 – In May of last year, the Army recalled 44,000 combat helmets after the discovery of a paint problem led to tests that showed the helmets failed when hit with multiple gunshots from a specific angle. Inmates from a federal prison in Beaumont, Texas helped make the helmets while working for UNICOR Inc., also known as Federal Prison Industries, Inc., a wholly-owned government corporation. As of 2010, UNICOR employed nearly 16,000 inmates who received pay of 23 cents to $1.15 per hour, according to its website. UNICOR only sells products to the federal government, mostly to the Department of Defense.

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