Blackwater/Xe, the Company You Can't Get Rid of

Blackwater, Go Home

Yesterday, Justin Elliot at Talking Points Memo published an interesting piece on the never-ending saga that is the government's relationship with the company formerly known as Blackwater. Despite the scandals, investigations and indictments that have recently plagued Xe – and the resultant loss of a license to operate in Iraq and the cancellation of several security contracts overseas – the company continues to perform work for the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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State Dept Continues to Fail at Contractor Oversight

Mediocrity is a Sin

The contracting boondoggle that is the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq came into full focus last week with the State Department's release of an Inspector General's audit of the compound. We already knew that construction of the fortress-like embassy, which is the largest on the planet and ten times bigger than any other US embassy, was riddled with the big WF&B (waste, fraud and abuse), but the sheer scale of corruption and ineptitude detailed in the report brings back into question the State Department's ability to oversee contractors.

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Asleep on the Job: Where are the Consequences for Contractor Misconduct?

Asleep on the Job

In what may be the next big defense contracting scandal, an Associated Press story released this morning relates some troubling findings from a recent investigation. AP reporters uncovered serious flaws with the U.S. Army's $2.7 billion contract with Combat Support Associates (CSA), a contractor tasked with supporting U.S. troops at bases throughout Kuwait. After months of bad press and congressional hearings into the defense contracting industry, you would think this investigation might provide just that little extra momentum for Congress or the federal government to clean up this mess, but don't count on it.

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Inspectors General Unable to Alleviate Congressional Fears of Fraud in Af-Pak Theater

U.S. Army

The recently coordinated Southwest Asia Joint Planning Group, comprised of several Inspectors General and a representative of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), came before a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing last week to testify on the oversight of U.S. resources in Afghanistan and Pakistan. To the chagrin of the subcommittee, though, the assembly of government overseers provided no overarching strategy to combat waste, fraud, and abuse, and little in the way of proactive solutions to help prevent the future squandering of U.S. resources. It is debatable, of course, whether it was fair for the subcommittee to expect as much.

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