The United States has paid more than $150 million to companies in Afghanistan that are accused of helping to finance terrorist attacks on American soldiers and facilities, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
"It’s like the United States government subsidizing the Taliban, al Qaeda, the Haqqani network, those groups that are trying to shoot and kill our soldiers," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., a member of the Senate’s Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, in an interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News’ “World News with Diane Sawyer”.
A list of 43 companies in Afghanistan was compiled by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) using data from both classified Pentagon investigative reports and Commerce Department lists of terror-connected companies.
But despite the broader findings, the Pentagon has resisted permanently blocking the companies from getting more U.S. contracts because, its lawyers say, it would violate the “due process” of the companies which would not be able to see the classified information that details their alleged ties to terror groups.
The SEC has released its 2013 Annual Report to congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program. […] Fiscal 2013 drew 3,238 complaints compared to 3,001 in 2012, an 8% increase. So by our calculations that’s almost 9 complaints a day in 2013.…
For four months, the State Department has refused to say which outside experts are working for the Department as special government employees (SGEs), ProPublica reported last week. Yet, the Project On Government Oversight was able to find more than 100 of the advisers identified as SGEs in an online government database. In other words, some of the information that State has been refusing to provide is hiding in plain sight.
“We’re the unsung hero of the department in that we don’t tell people who we’re chasing, but we do tell people when we’ve caught them.”—Patrick Gookin of the Pentagon’s anonymous hotline for whistleblowers. Many of the big scandals in the news have come from tips made to the hotline. Read more at Government Executive.
Did three senior Navy intelligence officials charge the military $1.6 million for homemade, unmarked and untraceable rifle silencers — made by hot rod auto mechanic in California — that cost only $8,000 to manufacture? Federal authorities seem to think so. Read the the whole story by the WaPo’s ever-sharp Craig Whitlock by clicking here.
Here’s a staggering statistic to start your day: the US government spends more on defense than the next thirteen highest-spending countries combined. That’s right: America’s military budget is equivalent to those of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy, Brazil, South Korea, Canada and Australia.
And getting inspector generals’ reports of investigations of misconduct by senior officials can be even trickier. In fact, agencies may not release such reports unless you first file a FOIA request for them.
The obvious problem, of course, is that unless you know an investigation report is out there, you won’t know to ask for it. As a result, many IG reports simply “disappear into the mist,” one knowledgeable source noted.
“Curtailing the bloated Pentagon bureaucracy isn’t simply a matter of promoting efficiency or eliminating waste, it’s a national security priority. Failure to act now will result in a military that’s more expensive, less effective, and less capable of defending U.S. interests.”—Ben Freeman on the dangers of our top-heavy military, in his op-ed for The New York Times. (via thirdwaythinktank)
The Air Force’s “Big Safari” is “a secretive and shadowy organization that has been in existence for over 60 years.” Even though Big Safari hands out billions in contracts, it doesn’t follow the rules like other agencies.
Former Representative Heather Wilson has come under fire for her close relationship with U.S. nuclear labs, including negotiating her lucrative contract while still in office, receiving almost half a million for questionable consulting work, and accepting a position on an NNSA review panel.
The American people, most Members of Congress, and even the President have been kept in the dark far too long about National Security Agency (NSA) activities that threaten some of our fundamental rights and relationships. The USA FREEDOM Act has several reforms to re-balance the checks on NSA spying.
A group of retired military officials is urging Congress to investigate a Marine Corps Commandant and his senior advisors who may have acted unlawfully following the release of a video showing troops urinating on corpses of Afghan insurgents.
A new database released by the Pentagon revealed that hundreds of senior defense officials requested ethics opinions as they moved from federal jobs to the private sector. A large majority, 84 percent, had a specific employer in mind, most of which were defense companies.
“You have to go where the money is, and carriers and air wings are quite expensive.I’d hate to say it is inevitable, but we have to look very hard at it.”—Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert on the real possibility that the Navy will have to cut an aircraft carrier and an air wing. Read more.
Air Force officials have noticed an unfortunate trend of officers forgetting to shut the blast door that protects nuclear-tipped missiles from intruders. Officers have been officially reprimanded twice this year for leaving the door open.
“The scrap yard looks like a post-industrial landfill in the middle of the Afghan desert, a surreal outcropping of mangled metal and plastic. There’s a tower of treadmills 50 feet high and an acre of American buses, trucks and vans, stripped of seats and engines. An ambulance is perched unsteadily atop a pile of scrap, as if it fell from the sky. A mountain of air-conditioning units sits next to a mountain of truck axles.”—The U.S. is leaving 14 million pounds of equipment in Afghanistan as it leaves. But it is destroying most of it before selling it, leaving more scrap metal in Afghanistan than has ever been there before. Read more.
Multiple senior Navy officials have been arrested for running an overbilling scheme with a major Asian defense contractor in one of the biggest- and juiciest- cases of fraud to hit the U.S. Navy in years.
A spokesperson for the Department of Defense (DOD) estimated that the government shutdown cost the Pentagon at least $600 million due to losses in productivity. That number may rise as long-term costs continue to reveal themselves.
When brokers ask to have black marks on their records removed from a public database, they get their way 96.9% of the time. It helps that the database is run by a private financial regulatory agency that is funded by Wall Street.