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Breaking News Forum Contractors behaving badly mean headaches for US at News Forum - AP - At two in the morning on Sept. 9, 2005, five DynCorp International security guards assigned to Afghan President ...

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Old 12-19-2010, 06:29 AM   #1
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Default Contractors behaving badly mean headaches for US

AP - At two in the morning on Sept. 9, 2005, five DynCorp International security guards assigned to Afghan President Hamid Karzai's protective detail returned to their compound drunk, with a prostitute in tow. Less than a week later, three of these same guards got drunk again, this time in the VIP lounge of the Kabul airport while awaiting a flight to Thailand.




Contractors behaving badly mean headaches for US
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:51 PM   #2
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Weedin' out the bad eggs...

Congress targets contractors and overseas crimes
January 31, 2013 WASHINGTON — With thousands of civilian contractors remaining in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Justice Department officials want Congress to resolve a legal issue that they say obstructs efforts to prosecute any such workers who rape, kill or commit other serious crimes abroad.
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Scofflaw Pentagon employees and contractors supporting the American war mission overseas are subject to federal prosecution in the U.S., but a nonmilitary contractor who breaks the law may fall outside the Justice Department's jurisdiction. Lawmakers plan to renew efforts to extend the reach of U.S. criminal law this session with bills to make civilian contractors and employees liable to federal prosecution for acts including murder, arson and bribery. The last U.S. troops left Iraq in 2011, and President Barack Obama has said the war in Afghanistan will be over in 2014, though thousands of contractors remain to work jobs ranging from construction to diplomatic security. The State Department alone says it has 10,000 contractors in both countries.

Federal prosecutors believe clearer and more uniform rules are needed to resolve a jurisdictional question made murkier by the end of the Iraq war and the ongoing drawdown of troops from Afghanistan. The jurisdictional gap caused problems for authorities during the first prosecution of Blackwater contractors accused in 2007 shootings in Baghdad and could again be a problem as prosecutors seek a new indictment in the case. "There still is this great vulnerability if these contractors get into some kind of scrape, some kind of problem, and there's no clear legal path to deal with it. That can be a serious problem," said Rep. David Price, a Democrat who plans to reintroduce legislation called the Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act.

Previous attempts to close the gap have stalled amid debate over who should be shielded from prosecution and under what circumstances. The Senate bill was tied up in part by uncertainty over how to protect certain contractors and employees, including intelligence agents and law enforcement officials, whose jobs might require them to skirt the law. "We should not require agents to pay for defense attorneys and risk jail time at the political whim of the Justice Department," Sen. Charles Grassley, the committee's top Republican, said at a 2011 hearing.

Prosecutors have had some success using an existing law, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, to target soldiers and military contractors who commit crimes. Defendants successfully prosecuted under that statute include Steven D. Green, a U.S. soldier convicted in the deaths of an Iraqi family, and Jorge Thornton, a contractor accused of unlawful sexual contact at an Iraq military base. But Justice officials say that statute, passed by Congress in 2000 in response to a child sex abuse case at an Army base in Germany, is too narrow since it doesn't cover non-Pentagon contractors and those not directly in support of the American war mission overseas. That means contractors with no attachment to the military would be exempt from prosecution.

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Old 07-21-2013, 02:12 PM   #3
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More contractor fraud in Afghanistan...

Report: Contractors were paid millions but Afghan school remains dangerous, unfinished
July 18, 2013 — A $3.4 million teachers' school in northern Afghanistan remains unfinished and dangerous to its occupants four years after construction began, and the contractor faced no penalties for failing to complete the project, according to a report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
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“More than 4 years after construction began, the Sheberghan teacher training facility remains incomplete,” the report says. “Its history is one of broken promises and undelivered results.” The report is just the latest in a flurry from the inspector general highlighting waste and questionable spending on U.S.-funded projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

In February 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded an Iraqi Contractor, Mercury Development, a $2.9 million contract to build the Sheberghan Teachers Training Facility in Jawzjan province, which was supposed to have been completed in January 2010. The deadline was later extended to June 2011 and the contract raised to $3.4 million, but the contractor abandoned the project in late 2011 before construction was complete and before they resolved health and safety concerns, according to the report. The report also raises concerns that Mercury Development was paid most of the value of the contract and that Army Corps of Engineers files show the contractor completed the project, despite ample evidence to the contrary. The Corps of Engineers also released Mercury from any further liability for deficiencies with the project.

The investigation found that four years after construction began, the water, sewage and electrical systems are unfinished, the electrical systems exposed users of the facility to the risk of electrocution and that a well for drinking water was placed too close to a sewer line. “This raises concerns because we have previously reported instances in which [the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] failed to hold its contractors accountable for accomplishing the work they were paid to perform,” the report says. “SIGAR believes that [the Corps of Engineers] must take immediate action to hold contractors accountable when they fail to deliver on their commitments.”

The problems were further compounded when the Corps of Engineers contracted with the Afghan firm Zafarkhaliq Construction Company to complete the project Mercury had abandoned, the report says. According to the inspector general, Zafarkhaliq’s contract was terminated because of poor performance, but not before they were paid $130,000 of a $153,000 contract. SIGAR has recommended exploring disciplinary action for the contracting officers who made the decision to pay the contractors and release Mercury from liability.

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Old 07-25-2013, 05:14 AM   #4
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Contractor foul-ups puttin' troops at risk...

Report: Contract waste and fraud in Afghanistan put troops at risk
July 23rd, 2013 > Contract fraud and waste has been an ongoing problem in Afghanistan almost since the start of the war, but a new report finds one kind of contract screw-up could well have caused deaths and injuries among U.S. troops.
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The problem revolves around “culvert denial systems.” Essentially they are grates made of heavy steel rods that keep the Taliban from putting Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in culverts under roads traveled by U.S. military vehicles. A report released on Tuesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found that “at least two Afghan contractors in one Afghanistan province have committed fraud by billing the U.S. government for the installation of 250 culvert denial systems that were either never installed or incorrectly installed.”

In November 2008, CNN personnel, while on patrol with an American convoy, saw how American troops dealt with the problem on roads with no culvert denial systems. The convoy was traveling to a small village only accessible by dirt roads. Every time it approached a culvert, all the vehicles stopped. A young lieutenant and a sergeant got out of the lead vehicles and walked about 50 yards up the ditch. When they reached the culvert, they’d get on their knees and they’d look for anything suspicious in the culvert. Nearly 50 American troops waited in stopped vehicles out in the open.

No IEDs were found that day in the culverts, but the lieutenant told CNN that the Taliban had already learned to place them down the road, so they could blow up the vehicles while culverts were being checked. The solution to that problem was supposed to be culvert denial systems. The convoys could keep moving, assured that no IEDs were in the culverts. But the reality is the roads are still very dangerous and IED attacks have risen to 17,000 last year, an all-time high. Because several different agencies awarded contracts for culvert denial systems and each used different criteria and even different names for the systems, the SIGAR was “unable to determine the total number of contracts awarded for” culvert denial systems, nor was it able to determine how much the U.S. spent on the systems.

The bottom line of the SIGAR report is that there are a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. “There is insufficient evidence to show that culvert denial systems paid for with U.S. government funds were ever installed,” the report said. More importantly, it’s unclear how many U.S. troops, if any, were killed by IEDs that should have been prevented by the systems, but the SIGAR office is still working to assess that. “The ongoing investigation is looking into whether this apparent failure to perform may have been a factor in the death or injury of several U.S. soldiers,” the report said.

Report: Contract waste and fraud in Afghanistan put troops at risk – CNN Security Clearance - CNN.com Blogs
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Watchdog critical of State Department contracting in Afghanistan
July 25th, 2013 > A U.S. government watchdog found "serious deficiencies" in how the State Department awarded a contract job in Afghanistan, according to a letter from the organization to Secretary of State John Kerry released Thursday.
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In the letter dated Monday, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John Sopko, raised a number of concerns on the oversight practices of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) at the State Department and how they awarded a contract for the training of Afghan justice workers. Sopko said the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), the nongovernmental organization awarded the contract, is "ill-prepared to manage and account for how U.S.-taxpayer funds will be spent," while also criticizing the State Department's role in awarding the contract. The United States has maintained that programs such as training and rule-of-law programs are central to ending the international presence in the country and allowing Afghans to take control of their own security.

Those programs involve "millions of dollars" of U.S. taxpayer money the letter said. "The State Department - for some inexplicable reason - gave IDLO $50 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars, then gave away any oversight of this foreign entity," Sopko said in a written statement to CNN about the report. "The irony here is that State violated its own written policy and gave them a huge check to teach the Afghans about the 'rule of law.' As the saying goes, you can't make this up. We're going to get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable." Sopko said his office - Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR - was disturbed to learn the agreement for IDLO to take over the contract contained "even fewer oversight requirements" than the agreement for the previous contractor. The letter also cited testimony by a State Department official to SIGAR auditors that IDLO is unable to validate its own spending since it lacks proper international financial certifications. "It seems ill-considered for INL to have awarded almost $50 million to an organization that may not have the ability to account for the use of those funds," Sopko wrote, "under an agreement in which INL failed to require proper provisions for oversight."

In a harshly worded section of the letter, Sopko referred to INL's assertion that it does not "have authority to compel IDLO to produce information" in the awarding of the contract as "disingenuous." INL, the letter says, could have made the awarding of the contract contingent on a certain level of oversight. "This omission is particularly disturbing given that INL chose IDLO as the sole project implementer." The lack of insight on the part of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs led Sopko's office to request information from the International Development Law Organization about its financial situation and relationships, of which Sopko said IDLO "has refused to fully comply with." "IDLO's failure to comply with these requests raises serious concerns regarding its commitment to transparency and willingness to acknowledge the authority of the U.S. government to oversee how U.S. taxpayer funds are spent," Sopko wrote. Subpoenas may also be issued to IDLO to "compel the production of any and all records IDLO possesses related to its operations in Afghanistan," the letter said.

Sopko recommended the State Department address the "deficiencies" in the agreement with IDLO, as well as the review of similar contracts and grants related to Afghan reconstruction to ensure they included proper oversight mechanisms. The letter comes at a time when contracting fraud and waste in Afghanistan is receiving heightened attention in Washington. On Wednesday, SIGAR released two separate reports highlighting problems with contractors in Afghanistan. In one instance, SIGAR found a company contracted by the U.S. military in Afghanistan to build a school "freely substituted building materials without U.S. approval using a concrete ceiling that raises safety concerns due to the school's location in an earthquake zone." A second audit found the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development lack the same authority the Pentagon has to terminate contracts with an entity later found to be affiliated with insurgent groups in Afghanistan or those deemed to be an enemy of the United States. Earlier this month it was revealed that a new $34 million U.S. military compound built in Afghanistan - paid for by U.S. tax dollars - likely never would be used.

http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/0...afghanistan-2/

Last edited by waltky; 07-25-2013 at 05:20 AM.
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