Associated Press at The Blaze November 20, 2012
The U.S. government has filed a civil lawsuit accusing a Houston-based global construction company and its Kuwaiti subcontractor of submitting nearly $50 million in inflated claims to install live-in trailers for troops during the Iraq War.
The lawsuit names KBR Inc. and First Kuwaiti Trading Co., alleging they overcharged for truck, driver and crane costs, and misrepresented delays in providing around 2,250 trailers meant to replace tents used by soldiers earlier in the invasion.
In one instance, the contractors allegedly claimed they paid $23,000 to lease one crane per month when the actual price was about $8,000, according to the lawsuit, which was filed this week in U.S. District Court in Rock Island, Ill., and first appeared in federal court records Tuesday.
KBR, once the engineering and construction arm of Halliburton, has faced lawsuits before related to its work in Iraq. One of the most prominent involved a soldier electrocuted in his barracks shower at an Army base. That case was eventually dismissed.
In the case involving the trailers, Jim Lewis, the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, said “KBR and First Kuwaiti did not provide an honest accounting.”
Stuart Delery, a U.S. deputy assistant attorney general, said in a Department of Justice statement regarding the lawsuit that contractors “are not permitted to profit at the expense of the taxpayers at home who are supporting our men and women in uniform.”
The private contractor guard force is owned by a foreign company with a long record of botched security operations from Afghanistan to London to Oak Ridge, Tennessee
The company is now wholly-owned by foreign security firm G4S, the same company that won notoriety on 9/11 when its Argenbright Security division ran passenger checkpoints at Dulles and Newark airports where hijackers boarded planes. Its performance on 9/11 was the major political impetus Congress used to federalize all airline security and create the Transportation Security Administration.
G4S was involved in a major scandal when its employees took part in bizarre hazing rituals when supposedly guarding State Department employees in Afghanistan. More recently, the company so botched security preparations for the London Olympics, the British government was forced to call in the army at the last minute.
by Joseph Trento at The DC Bureau November 14, 2012
Aiken, S.C. – Tons of weapons grade plutonium and other nuclear materials, a target for terrorists, are not being properly protected by the National Nuclear Security Administration at the Department of Energy’s sprawling Savannah River Site, according to security consultants and U.S. counterintelligence officials.
A secret security review underway at DOE and other government agencies after an elderly nun last summer breached a NNSA bomb-grade-uranium facility at the Oak Ridge Tennessee Y12 area reveals “harrowing problems in site management and control at other DOE sites,” said a Homeland Security official who requested anonymity. The official said that the Savannah River Site was of concern because “SRS does not have the staffing or the facilities to protect the huge amounts of plutonium that have been brought to SRS in recent years.”
SRS has one of the greatest concentrations in the world of radioactive material. In one old reactor building – the K Area Material Storage (KAMS) facility – protected by the same contractors that botched security at Oakridge, there is enough weapons grade plutonium to destroy the world multiple times. Here plutonium in its purest form can be found by the ton.
Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room November 2, 2012
Just days after an inspector general report revealed that a giant Pentagon contractor performed “unsatisfactory” work in Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force awarded the firm another multimillion-dollar pot of cash.
Virginia’s DynCorp, which performs everything from private security to construction for the U.S. military, has re-upped with Air Force to help pilots learn basic flying skills on the T-6A/B Texan II aircraft, a training plane. The deal is only the latest between DynCorp and the Air Force on the Texan II: In June, the Air Force Materiel Command gave the company a deal worth nearly $55 million for training services. The latest one, announced late Thursday, is worth another $72.8 million, and lasts through October 2013.
But the Air Force’s lucrative vote of confidence in DynCorp comes not even a week after the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction blasted the company for performing “unsatisfactory” construction work at an Afghan Army base in Kunduz. The base was “at risk of structural failure” when the watchdogs initially inspected, but the Army Corps of Engineers chose to settle DynCorp’s contract, a move that awarded the company “$70.8 million on the construction contracts and releas[ed] it from any further liabilities and warranty obligation.” (.pdf)
A DynCorp spokeswoman, Ashley Burke, told Bloomberg News that the company disputed the special inspector general’s findings. For its part, the special inspector general took to tweeting photographs of what it called “DynCorp’s failed work at #Afghan #Army Base in #Kunduz.
United States Sues Virginia-based Contractor Triple Canopy for False Claims Under Contract for Security in Iraq
Allegedly Billed US for Security Guards Who Did Not Meet Contract Requirements
Contractor Faked Guard Weapon Tests In Iraq, US Says
Department of Justice October 31, 2012
The United States has filed a complaint against a Virginia-based contractor alleging that the company submitted false claims for unqualified security guards under a contract to provide security in Iraq, the Justice Department announced today. The company, Triple Canopy Inc. is headquartered in Reston, Va.
In June 2009, the Joint Contracting Command in Iraq/Afghanistan (JCC-I/A) awarded Triple Canopy a one-year, $10 million contract to perform a variety of security services at Al Asad Airbase – the second largest air base in Iraq. The multi-national JCC-I/A was established by U.S. Central Command in November 2004, to provide contracting support related to the government’s relief and reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
The government’s complaint alleges that Triple Canopy knowingly billed the United States for hundreds of foreign nationals it hired as security guards who could not meet firearms proficiency tests established by the Army and required under the contract. The tests ensure that security guards hired to protect U.S. and allied personnel are capable of firing their AK-47 assault rifles and other weapons safely and accurately. The government also alleges that Triple Canopy’s managers in Iraq falsified test scorecards as a cover up to induce the government to pay for the unqualified guards, and that Triple Canopy continued to bill the government even after high-level officials at the company’s headquarters had been alerted to the misconduct. The complaint further alleges that Triple Canopy used the false qualification records in an attempt to persuade the JCC-I/A to award the company a second year of security work at the Al Asad Airbase.
“For a government contractor to knowingly provide deficient security services, as is alleged in this case, is unthinkable, especially in war time,” said Stuart F. Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. “The department will do everything it can to ensure that contractors comply with critical contract requirements and that contractors who don’t comply aren’t permitted to profit at the expense of our men and women in uniform and the taxpayers at home who support them.”
“We will not tolerate government contractors anywhere in the world who seek to defraud the United States through deliberate or reckless conduct that violates contractual requirements and risks the security of government personnel,” said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The government’s claims are based on a whistleblower suit initially filed by a former employee of Triple Canopy in 2011. The suit was filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provision of the False Claims Act, which allows private persons to file suit on behalf of the United States. Under the act, the government has a period of time to investigate the allegations and decide whether to intervene in the action or to decline intervention and allow the whistleblower to go forward alone.
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia; the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Justice Department’s Civil Division; and the Army Criminal Investigative Command (CID) and Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) of the Department of Defense.
The claims asserted against Triple Canopy are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability. The government is not aware of any injuries that occurred as a result of the alleged misconduct.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, and is captioned United States ex rel. Badr v. Triple Canopy, Inc.
The New York Times October 31, 2012
WASHINGTON — The security guards at a nuclear weapons plant who failed to stop an 82-year-old nun from reaching a bomb fuel storage building earlier this year were also cheating on a recertification exam, according to an internal investigation by the Department of Energy, which owns the weapons plant.
The exam, with answers, was circulated to guards at the Y-12 National Security Complex, near Oak Ridge, Tenn., before they sat down to take it, according to the report, by the department’s inspector general. The report, released on Wednesday, said that the cheating was enabled by the department itself. It was routine practice for the department to involve contractor personnel in preparation of such exams, because the federal government did not know enough about the security arrangements to write the exam without the help of the contractor
A federal security official sent the exam by encrypted e-mail to “trusted agents” at the management contractor, B&W, but did not instruct those executives to keep it secret from the people who would have to take it, according to the report. The government found out about the cheating only because an inspector visiting the plant noticed a copy of an exam on the seat of a patrol vehicle the day before guards were to take it.
The security contractor was Wackenhut, but its contract was terminated after a security breach on July 28, when the nun, Sister Megan Gillespie Rice, and two accomplices cut through three layers of fence, splashed blood on a building housing bomb-grade uranium, performed a Christian ritual and then waited to be apprehended. A subsequent investigation found that many security cameras had been disabled long before the break-in.
October 25, 2012
Voluntary Today, Involuntary Tomorrow
Another Successful Flush by Wackenhut G4S
Will the last Ronco Consulting Corporation Employee out please close the lid ?
Defense firm links with Va.-based Sterling
An East Tennessee defense contractor has joined forces with a Virginia firm.
EOD Technology announced Wednesday that it has merged with Reston, Va.-based Sterling International to form Sterling Global Operations.
The new company will be based in Lenoir City, and EODT CEO Matt Kaye will serve as president and CEO of the new venture.
Kaye said Wednesday that the combined companies form “the world’s preeminent conventional munitions disposal organization.”
Asked about the benefits of the deal for EODT, Kaye said: “It really diversifies our customer base. It strengthens our footprint around the world and provides us greater breadth and depth of resources.”
EODT got its start in 1987 as a company specializing in explosive ordnance disposal, and for years specialized in cleaning up contamination at former U.S. military sites. During the George W. Bush administration, EODT branched out into security operations and eventually became a major player in that market.
The company has also received some unwelcome scrutiny in connection with that work, however. In 2010, a U.S. Senate committee criticized EODT for its hiring practices in Afghanistan, and the following year it was revealed that the U.S. State Department had fired the company from a contract to guard the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
EODT was raided by federal agents in 2010, although no charges have been filed in connection with the raid.
According to a news release, EODT’s employee stock ownership plan acquired Sterling International. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The release said Sterling manages a $175 million weapons removal and abatement program for the State Department, and Kaye said that in comparison to EODT, the Virginia firm is more involved in the work of nonproliferation.
“While the activities that (EODT does) are nonproliferation, they’re much more in a mass-quantity stockpile reduction,” he said. “Sterling is on the forefront of … assisting countries with treaty compliance (and) establishing mine action centers.”
Kaye said Sterling has approximately 150 employees, and the new company will have about 3,500 employees.
After a round of layoffs earlier this year, EODT said it had 250 American employees and 3,000 foreign nationals.
Kaye said Sterling International’s program manager for conventional weapons destruction will remain in that position with the new company.
Sterling’s website does not identify the company’s top executives, and Kaye declined to identify the founder or CEO of the company. “He’s asked not to be named,” Kaye said, adding that the individual would stay on as an executive adviser.
The release said the combined companies will continue to serve existing customers, but will also expand into markets including energy exploration and development, and judicial and criminal justice support.
The new company will have annual revenues of $150 million.
StockMarketWire.com September 27, 2012
Goldman Sachs downgrades G4S from sell to conviction sell, target price cut from 264p to 231p
Bloomberg August 29, 2012
After investments in food, telecommunications and cleaning-product companies in the early 1990s, CM Equity Partners bet on a little-known U.S. government contractor that would shape the firm’s future.
It bought Intermetrics Inc., which designed software forNASA, in 1995 and sold the company five years later after more than quadrupling its revenue. Following that success, the New York-based private equity firm in 2004 dropped its“generalist” investment philosophy to concentrate exclusively on federal contractors, said Peter Schulte, a founder and managing partner.
CM Equity is now one of at least 38 private equity firms backing companies that sell primarily services to the federal government, an increase from fewer than 10 a decade ago, according to investment firm Stifel Nicolaus Weisel. Carlyle Group LP (CG) and Cerberus Capital Management LP, the two biggest private equity firms in federal contracting, own or control companies that had $8.9 billion in U.S. awards last fiscal year, government procurement data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“It’s a sign of the maturity of the sector,” said Charles Chappell, president of Chantilly, Virginia-based Caliber Consulting LLC, which advises firms seeking to buy federal contractors. “You’ve finally had some companies reach a size”that commands the attention of private equity investors, he said.
* Anti-nuclear activists cut through perimeter fences
* Nun, 82, was among the activists arrested
By Mark Hosenball Reuters Washington Aug 2, 2012
The U.S. government’s only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium was temporarily shut this week after anti-nuclear activists, including an 82-year-old nun, breached security fences, government officials said on Thursday.
WSI Oak Ridge, the contractor responsible for protecting the facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is owned by the international security firm G4S, which was at the center of a dispute over security at the London Olympic Games.
Officials said that the facility was shut down on Wednesday at least until next week after three activists cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly-enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored.
The activists painted slogans and threw what they said was human blood on the wall of the facility, one of numerous buildings in the facility known by the code name Y-12 that it was given during World War II, officials said.
While moving between the perimeter fences, the activists triggered sensors which alerted security personnel. However, officials conceded that the intruders still were able to reach the building’s walls before security personnel got to them.
Ellen Barfield, a spokeswoman for the activists who called themselves “Transform Now Plowshares”, were arrested and charged by federal authorities with vandalism and criminal trespass.
She said the three, identified as Megan Rice, 82, Michael R. Walli, 63 and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, were being held in custody. They are scheduled to appear in court in the next few days.
Barfield forwarded a statement from the group in which they said they had passed through four fences and walked for “over two hours” before reaching the uranium storage building, upon which they hung banners and strung crime-scene tape.
NUCLEAR MATERIALS “NOT COMPROMISED”
Officials said that the storage building itself, which was built after the Sept. 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington, was designed with extra and modern security features and that its contents were not compromised.
WSI Oak Ridge, the private firm employed by the U.S. Department of Energy to provide security at Y-12, is a subsidiary of the giant international security firm G4S.
This update reports DoD contractor personnel numbers in theater and outlines DoD efforts to improve management of contractors accompanying U.S. forces. It covers DoD contractor personnel deployed in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Iraq, and the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).
In 3rd quarter FY 2012, USCENTCOM reported approximately 137,000 contractor personnel working for the DoD in the USCENTCOM AOR. This was approximately a 10.5% decrease from the previous quarter. The number of contractors outside of Afghanistan and Iraq make up about 11.5% of the total contractor population in the USCENTCOM AOR.
A breakdown of DoD contractor personnel is provided below:
DoD Contractor Personnel in the USCENTCOM AOR
|Total Contractors||U.S. Citizens||Third Country Nationals||Local & Host Country Nationals|
|Other USCENTCOM Locations||15,829||7,049||8,157||623|
*Includes DoD contractors supporting U.S. Mission Iraq and/or Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq
The distribution of contractors in Afghanistan by contracting activity are:
|Theater Support – Afghanistan:||20,291||(18%)|
|U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:||7,743||(7%)|
|*Includes Defense Logistics Agency, Army Materiel Command, Air Force External and Systems Support contracts, Special Operations Command and INSCOM.|
OEF Contractor Posture Highlights:
There are currently approximately 113.7K DoD contractors in Afghanistan. The overall contractor footprint has decreased 3% from the 2nd quarter FY12.
The contractor to military ratio in Afghanistan is 1.19 to 1 (based on 95.4K military).
Local Nationals make up 42% of the DoD contracted workforce in Afghanistan.
There was a 33% decrease in the number of DoD contractors as compared to the 2nd quarter 2012 due to the continued transition of DoD contracts to the Department of State.
The Department of Defense and Department of State continue to refine the requirements for contract support. We project that by the end of FY 2012, the USG contractor population in Iraq will be approximately 13.5K. Roughly half of these contractors are employed under Department of State contracts. Although the remainder are employed under DoD contracts, only approximately 4,000 will be directly supporting DoD mission areas. The remaining contractor personnel employed under DoD contracts are supporting State Department and other civilian activities under the Chief of Mission, Iraq. These DoD contractors are provided on a reimbursable basis.
General Data on DoD Private Security Contractor Personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, The Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF) Advisory Group is developing the planning for contracts to transition to the APPF in accordance with Presidential Decree 62. The original intent was for all convoy and development contracts to transition by 20 March 2012, however, this timeline has been extended to enable the APPF to come to full operational capability. The APPF Advisory Group has established a transition plan to facilitate the transition of security for development sites and convoys. International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) fixed site and military construction PSC contracts have until 20 March 2013 to be transitioned to the APPF.
USCENTCOM reports, as of 3rd quarter FY 2012, the following distribution of private security contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq:
|Total*||U.S. Citizens||Third Country National||Local & Host Country National|
|DoD PSCs in Afghanistan||28,686||480||821||27,385|
|DoD PSCs in Iraq||2,407||116||2,074||217|
*These numbers include most subcontractors and service contractors hired by prime contractors under DoD contracts. They include both armed and unarmed contractors. They do not include PSCs working under DoS and USAID contracts
by David Isenberg at Huffington Post July 30, 2012
A new report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) provides some detail on the sacrifices made by private contractors who engaged in reconstruction or stabilization activities in Iraq between May 1, 2003, and August 31, 2010.
The total number includes 318 Americans (U.S. military, federal civilian employees, and U.S. civilian contractors), 111 third-country nationals, 271 Iraqis and 19 of unknown nationality who were working in support of the U.S. reconstruction or stabilization mission during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Of course, the actual total number, as opposed to the merely official one, is almost certainly higher, according to the report
For several reasons, an exact calculation is not possible. First, no agency managed a central database for reconstruction or stabilization casualties. Each U.S. government entity involved in Iraq’s reconstruction–the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of State (DoS), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)–maintained its own employee casualty database. The Department of Labor (DoL) maintains a database of civilian contractors of all nationalities that were killed in Iraq who worked for or were contracted by U.S.-based companies or were insured through U.S. insurance carriers and notified DoL through the Defense Base Act.
Second, the databases we could access often did not contain enough detail to confirm whether a casualty was stabilization- or reconstruction-related. For example, there were 1,047 military casualties where the type of mission could not be determined.
Finally, there was no central source of information on third-country nationals or Iraqi civilians killed while working on or in support of U.S. projects.
What the report, “The Human Toll Of Reconstruction Or Stabilization Operations During Operation Iraqi Freedom” does say is that “Americans suffered 44 percent of the total reconstruction or stabilization-related deaths, including 264 from the Department of Defense (37 percent) and 54 U.S. federal civilian employees and U.S. civilian contractors (8 percent).” So, looking just at the very limited subset of contractors working stabilization and reconstruction-related activities, you get 57 deaths.
About 120 civilian workers at Fort Lewis will vote today whether to join Local 286 of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). For the past six months, however, the workers’ employer—General Dynamics—has required them to attend meetings on the base that hammer home the message: unions are bad.
Among the faults cited by the defense contractor is the claim that if the employees vote to unionize, General Dynamics will lose its Stryker combat vehicle deal with the Army. The company received $19 billion in government contracts last year.
According to a story by Mike Elk of In These Times, the Army offered no comment and “has not taken a position on these meetings nor the claims that the workers voting to join a union would make them less attractive to the Army.”
One worker, former Marine Jason Croic, who now works at Fort Lewis, said “it’s bullshit the way they [General Dynamics] are talking to us,” adding: “You think when it’s prior military veterans who have done their part, they wouldn’t do this kind of thing to us.”
The Washington Post June 28, 2012
United Technologies, a major defense contractor, and two of its subsidiaries on Thursday acknowledged covering up the illicit sale of sensitive military software to China — technology that the country later used to develop its first attack helicopter.
Federal prosecutors announced criminal charges against the firms and a fine of more than $75 million for what they called a violation of U.S. export laws. Justice officials said the software sold to China posed a risk to American troops overseas and U.S. allies.
“The Justice Department will spare no effort to hold accountable those who compromise U.S. national security for the sake of profits and then lie about it to the government,” Lisa Monaco, the assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement.
Connecticut-based United Technologies, which reported net sales of $58 billion in 2011, will pay the fine, along with Pratt & Whitney Canada and Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., as part of a settlement for lying to the government and delaying their disclosures about the illegal exports, officials said.