Archive: iraq

Wartime Contracting Report: We Have Big, Costly Problems

As promised, here's the new report by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the organization formed by Congress to examine where all the money went. It's a sad reminder about just how bad the contracting system has been in recent years, and all the billions that...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | June 9, 2009; 06:31 PM ET | Comments (8)

Report Finds Wartime Contracting Problems Widespread, Costly

Let's file this one in the "You don't say?" folder. "The Defense Department has failed to provide adequate oversight over tens of billions of dollars in contracts to support military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, says a new report by an independent commission investigating waste and fraud in wartime spending."...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | June 8, 2009; 02:56 PM ET | Comments (2)

Behind the Blackwater Name Change

Don't say Blackwater anymore. The Moyock, N.C.-based private security company that became well known for its work in Iraq and Afghanistan is now known as Xe (pronounced like the letter Z). After a yearlong search conducted internally for a new name, the company's executives picked Xe, according to Anne Tyrrell,...

 

By Sara Goo | February 17, 2009; 12:50 PM ET | Comments (9)

Pentagon Letter Complicates Blackwater Prosecution

A Pentagon determination two years ago that Blackwater security forces working for the State Department were not subject to U.S. civilian criminal laws now may undercut the Justice Department's case against five of the firm's guards for manslaughter. That's according to a story by the Associated Press. "The Pentagon...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | February 5, 2009; 01:50 PM ET | Comments (11)

State Department Cancels Iraq Contract With Blackwater

The State Department will not renew Blackwater Worldwide's contract for securities services in Iraq, according to media reports today, ending one of the most controversial government deals in recent memory. Blackwater and its affiliates have received about $1.3 billion this decade -- most of it through State Department contracts. The...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | January 30, 2009; 04:40 PM ET | Comments (30)

Inspector General Says Iraq Contract Going Well

The latest report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction offers something relatively rare: Good news about burgeoning contracts and the government's oversight. It seems that Aegis Defence Services, Limited, which has received about $624 million to provide security services to the Defense Department, has been found to perform...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | January 15, 2009; 11:17 AM ET | Comments (4)

Iraq, Contracting Corruption

More evidence of wartime corruption is emerging, alas. In exchange for a cash kickbacks and a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a U.S. Army reservist gave a contractor "sensitive information" and "fraudulently" awarded a contract to Raman International, a Cypress, Tex.-based firm, the Justice Department said in a statement. Theresa Jeanne...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | December 24, 2008; 03:11 PM ET | Comments (3)

Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience

Now for your reading pleasure, Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience, a 500-plus page tome that comprises interviews with "hundreds of individuals" and a "review of thousands of documents." It is an official history that essentially offers the perspective of Stuart Bowen, chief of the Office of the Special...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | December 17, 2008; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (4)

Blackwater: Big Boy Rules

In case you missed it, here's The Post's adaptation of Big Boy Rules: America's Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq by our colleague Steve Fainaru. "As US Airways Flight 1860 eased into Gate 4 at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, the pilot's voice came over the intercom: 'Can I please have your...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | December 5, 2008; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (5)

Loophole and Money

Nothing like a Washington Mystery (No, not the identity of Eliot Spitzer's ephemeral companion, Kristen. She was identified yesterday). I'm talking about the identity of the government insider who altered a Justice Department proposal last year requiring U.S. contractors abroad to report waste, fraud or abuse they encounter while...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | March 14, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Castles Made of Sand

Rock Lives -- even in the Defense Department. In a contracting notice posted Jan. 10, the DoD said it wants to hire a "Professional Celebrity Rock Music Band" to tour in Kuwait and Afghanistan next month. Wanna-be guitar heroes take note: the band needs to be able to play...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | January 30, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (67)

Blackwater and Malpractice

Blackwater has filed a $30 million malpractice suit against the high-powered team of lawyers the firm hired to defend against a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of the Fallujah Four, according to a story Friday by the Legal Times. The complaint accused the lawyers at Wiley Rein...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | January 27, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (97)

Sand, Maintenance and Money

Here's another glum contracting item from over there. The Government Accountability Office has found problems with a contract for maintenance of military vehicles -- problems that auditors believe have serious possible consequences for both troops in Iraq and taxpayers here. In a Jan. 22 letter to Congress, the GAO said...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | January 25, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

A Fire Risk

In a rush to build the massive $736 million embassy compound in Baghdad, the State Department and its contractors bungled a wide array of safety basics, including fire protection systems. "This is serious enough to get someone killed," a State Department official is quoted as saying in the exclusive...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | January 17, 2008; 06:58 AM ET | Comments (4)

Blackwater: Proxy War Over Procurement

The Blackwater USA hearing on the Hill yesterday was electric. As Blackwater founder Erik Prince prepared to testify, dozens of people lined up to get inside the grand hearing room. The media swarmed. Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee postured. One of the most interesting things,...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | October 3, 2007; 05:46 AM ET | Comments (43)

Private Armies, Public Debate Redux

One of the most intense contracting stories of our time -- because it includes bullets, guns and money -- remains Blackwater USA's role in Iraq. Today, my colleagues Steve Fainaru and Sudarsan Raghavan report on more incredible details about the recent street battles fought between the quasi-military, US-based security...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | September 28, 2007; 06:20 AM ET | Comments (9)

Billions And Billions

So it turns out that $6 billion worth of contracts to provide support for American warfighters in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq -- twice as much as previously known -- are under review by a criminal investigator for evidence of fraud, waste and abuse. Those details emerged at a House...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | September 21, 2007; 07:02 AM ET | Comments (10)

Private Armies, Public Debate

Talk about a juicy contracting lead. "In the wake of a deadly shootout in downtown Baghdad, the Iraqi government on Monday said it had revoked the license of Blackwater USA, a prominent American private security company, setting up a confrontation with the U.S. government over who has the authority...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | September 18, 2007; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Halliburton, Questions and Fuel for Debate

For four years, the no-bid contract awarded to Halliburton has been a magnet for controversy. The deal allowed the company to become the government's leading contractor in Iraq, and questions were raised over why it received the contract without competition. Then came the questions about money, which mounted as...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | August 10, 2007; 07:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

War And Money

Consider the following stories as food for thought. From the perspective of accountability, one can only assume there's much more here that has yet to be said. Megan Scully of CongressDaily wrote this story that appeared in GovernmentExecutive.com on Tuesday: "The cost of military operations and diplomatic efforts in...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | August 2, 2007; 05:32 AM ET | Comments (6)

Tale Of Two Cities

In some sad way, the story by my colleague Dana Hedgpeth last week did not come as a surprise. She reported that a major power plant in Baghdad was not functioning after the U.S. government paid millions to get it up and running, according to a July 18 report...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | July 25, 2007; 06:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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