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Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
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Congress: $15 Billion in Failed DHS Contracts

POSTED: 05:01 PM ET, 09/17/2008 by The Editors

The Post's Dana Hedgpeth reports today that $15 billion in contracts given out by the Department of Homeland Security have been plagued by cost overruns, delays or cancellations, according to data gathered by the House Committee on Homeland Security. The committee is holding a hearing with homeland security experts today on its findings.

Several of the problems with the contracts were first exposed by Washington Post investigations.

Details of the contracts after the jump...

* In the U.S. Coast Guard's Deepwater program, where ships were built and then scrapped, about $351 million was wasted or not subjected to proper oversight. In December 2006, Post reporters Renae Merle and Spencer S. Hsu reported: "A multibillion-dollar effort to modernize the Coast Guard's fleet has suffered delays, cost increases, design flaws and, most recently, the idling of eight 123-foot patrol boats that were found to be not seaworthy after an $88 million refurbishment."

* A $10 billion program called US VISIT, a computer system designed to record the entry and exit of visitors to the United States at airports and border crossings, is behind schedule and not well managed. In May 2005, Post reporters Scott Higham and Robert O'Harrow Jr. reported: "Documents and interviews with people familiar with the program, called US-VISIT, show that government officials are betting on speculative technology while neglecting basic procedures to ensure that taxpayers get full value from government contractors."

* The airport baggage screener project. Higham and O'Harrow reported in May 2005 that the contract to hire airport passenger screeners grew to $741 million from $104 million in less than a year. In June 2005, O'Harrow and Higham reported that Eclipse Events Inc., a company formed by two women with ties to the travel industry that received a $1.1 million no-bid subcontract for the screener program, saw their contract balloon to $24 million within a year, including $5.4 million to pay the salary of one of the principals for nine month's work. A Defense Contract Audit Agency report obtained by The Washington Post said auditors could not substantiate $15 million of the work invoiced by Eclipse. A subsequent Post story in October 2005 revealed that DHS officials had no documentation to justify a change in the screener contract that increased its cost by $343 million.

Here is the congressional committee's summary of the flawed contracts:

By The Editors |  September 17, 2008; 5:01 PM ET Hot Documents
Previous: Senator Doubts Anthrax Scientist Acted Alone | Next: Interior Dept. Hearing, Palin's E-Mails, FEMA's No-Ice Rule


Please email us to report offensive comments.

This highlights how inefficient bureaucracies can be. I shudder to think of the amount of taxpayer money that will be wasted if the Feds get control of all health care (about 30% of Medicare is fraud now).

Posted by: kws | September 17, 2008 6:23 PM

We are saddled with a government that, while actively working against the best interests of everyday citizens, encourages and rewards fraud and incompetence on an unprecedented and obscene scale, with utterly no acountability. And countless businesses regularly raid the natinal treasury at will, aided and abetted by our government and perk-laden, pension-waiting, earmark-squandering politicians.

A government "of the people, by the people, for the people" is a myth of the past.

Posted by: Stryke | September 17, 2008 6:42 PM

It's incredible the way this administration has wasted taxpayers dollars while giving the rich tax breaks and bailing them out. There really ought to be some accountability in our government. So much for "for the people, by the People", with "the decider" and a VP who doesn't care about what Americans think.

Posted by: carl c | September 17, 2008 6:51 PM

A Republican president and a Democrat-owned Congress. Both Parties are rife with corruption and filled with incompetent people. Until such time as those in elected/appointed positions are charged with dereliction of duty, this will only continue.

Posted by: Chantal | September 17, 2008 8:23 PM

Amen Chantel! There's no way the blame for all of this mess can be blamed on one person or one party. Democrats and Republicans alike share the blame. As Bill O'Reilly pointed out today on his program, this mess is not the fault of the American people. It is the fault of the federal government which is directly responsible for either mismanaging or not managing at all the things that fall directly in their jurisdiction. President Bush appointed some of those people, some have been there since Clinton, and Congress has direct oversight responsibility. They have all been asleep at the wheel (or texting).

I wish the media would stop spending so much digging into the nuances of the candidates' backgrounds and start doing responsible journalism and ask the hard questions like "what are you going to do about illegal immigration?"; or what are you going to do to correct the problems caused by the lack of proper governance?".

I say it's time we have at least a viable third choice in parties, be it independent, libertarian, green, or whatever. Clearly, the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is their proposed methods, both of which smack of business as usual in Washington. If I felt there was a snowball's chance a third candidate could get enough electoral votes to win, I'd vote for him or her!!!

Posted by: disgusted | September 17, 2008 11:26 PM

#1 As long as the Federal Government pays its employees 15 - 35% less than the contractors do for the same job, the talent will run to where the money is.

#2 The federal employees have to work longer than 6 - 8 hours a day. Contractors work to get the job done and usually don't watch the clock but as a whole, their counterparts certainly do. I am not a contractor but this is just my observation. There are many valiant and hard-working Feds - just not enough.

Posted by: Bill | September 18, 2008 7:23 AM

I'll say this to the day I pass on.This is what we get when we have a leadership that demands loyalty to the person and NOT to the American people.we get political hacks placed in every key position for paybacks to get elected,and not the truly qualified people with,and here is where it hurts us most, brains and leadership.We got what we got.It will pass someday like a kidney stone and America will survive.

Posted by: pinkydink53 | September 18, 2008 10:27 AM

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