Category Archives: Department of Defense

Contractors are hired guns..who knew?

The title is tongue in cheek of course, we all know why the mercenaries are in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this piece in the NYT really lays it all out. From the writeup:

Under the cover of a benign government information-gathering program, a Defense Department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan  and Pakistan  to help track and kill suspected militants, according to military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States.
The official, Michael D. Furlong, hired contractors from private security companies that employed former C.I.A. and Special Forces operatives. The contractors, in turn, gathered intelligence on the whereabouts of suspected militants and the location of insurgent camps, and the information was then sent to military units and intelligence officials for possible lethal action in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the officials said.
While it has been widely reported that the C.I.A. and the military are attacking operatives of Al Qaeda and others through unmanned, remote-controlled drone strikes, some American officials say they became troubled that Mr. Furlong seemed to be running an off-the-books spy operation. The officials say they are not sure who condoned and supervised his work.

Jesus H. Christ…how does our government allow wingnuts like Furlong to stay employed? It’s immoral as hell, not to mention illegal, to hire contractors as spy’s and assassins.

Furlong also funneled money from a legit program to finance this horseshit. He is now the object of a DoD criminal investigation, according to the NYT writeup:

Officials say Mr. Furlong’s operation seems to have been shut down, and he is now is the subject of a criminal investigation by the Defense Department for a number of possible offenses, including contract fraud.
Even in a region of the world known for intrigue, Mr. Furlong’s story stands out. At times, his operation featured a mysterious American company run by retired Special Operations officers and an iconic C.I.A. figure who had a role in some of the agency’s most famous episodes, including the Iran-Contra affair.
The allegations that he ran this network come as the American intelligence community confronts other instances in which private contractors may have been improperly used on delicate and questionable operations, including secret raids in Iraq and an assassinations program that was halted before it got off the ground.
“While no legitimate intelligence operations got screwed up, it’s generally a bad idea to have freelancers running around a war zone pretending to be James Bond,” one American government official said. But it is still murky whether Mr. Furlong had approval from top commanders or whether he might have been running a rogue operation.

This should not surprise anyone as the Bush Administration had no problem breaking laws and of course the Geneva Conventions. James Bond? Hell..it reminds me of other activities our CIA has taken part in over the decades…like trying to kill Castro and half the leaders in South American countries.

As for Mr. Furlong…guess what the fuckwit does now..go ahead guess. Alright I will tell ya..

Mr. Michael Furlong is now a senior civilian employee in the military, a full-time Defense Department employee based at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

No surprise there either.

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About that military budget George..

Our government uses the War On Terror as an excuse for any and everything military. As Robert Scheer notes in his writeup at TruthDig, the newest GAO report is a horrendous bit of reading that will chafe you hide or at the very least cause you to grind your teeth and mutter under your breath:

This is not about the waste of taxpayer dollars—already pushing a trillion—in funding the Iraq war, which, while reprehensible enough, pales in comparison to the big-ticket military systems purchased in the wake of 9/11. In the horror of that moment, the floodgates were lifted and the peace dividend promised with the end of the Cold War was washed away by a doubling of spending on ultra-complex military equipment originally designed to defeat a Soviet enemy that no longer exists, equipment that has no plausible connection with fighting stateless terrorists. Example: the $81-billion submarine pushed by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, presumably to fight al-Qaida’s navy.

That’s the huge scandal the media and politicians from both parties have studiously avoided. But as the GAO’s authoritative audit details, the costs are astronomical. The explosion of spending on expensive weaponry after 9/11 had nothing whatsoever to do with the attacks of that day. The high-tech planes and ships commissioned for trillions of dollars to defeat an enemy with no navy, air force or army, and using $3 knives as its weapons arsenal, were gifts to the military-industrial complex that will go on giving for decades to come.

Our beloved Military Industrial Complex is spending our money like a sailor on shore leave. What is maddening is this crap they are buying doesn’t even work! The War Profiteer’s are getting fat and happy however, selling us million dollar baubles that look good but serve no function. Direct from the GAO Report:

“Since 2000, the Department of Defense (DOD) has roughly doubled its planned investment in new systems from $790 billion to $1.6 trillion in 2007, but acquisition outcomes in terms of cost and schedule have not improved.” Pentagon cost overruns, always a huge problem, have mushroomed. As the GAO reported, “Total acquisition costs for major defense programs in the fiscal year 2007 portfolio have increased 26 percent from first estimates, compared with 6 percent in 2000.”

*snip*

“Of the 72 programs GAO assessed this year, none of them had proceeded through system development meeting the best-practice standards for mature technologies, stable design, or mature production processes by critical junctures of the program, each of which are essential for achieving planned cost, schedule, and performance outcomes.”(emphasis mine)

Gawd, don’t you just love it? Doesn’t this warm the cockles of your little black war profiteering heart? Whats that, you aren’t a war profiteer, just a lowly taxpayer? Well, in that case your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent on war toys that can’t even come in on time, working properly or on budget. You know what a budget is right pal? I know I do, its something I have to stretch and play with just to keep the bills paid, the lights on and the kitties fed.

Seems our idiots in the Federal Government don’t worry about such nonsensical things as staying on a budget. Perhaps we need to shut off their lights, free meals and few of their other perks to get them to pay attention.

But we won’t. We will just bitch and whine and gnash our teeth a little. Its the American Way!

Crossposted at Bring It On!