Category Archives: federal contractors

Gates to cut contractors? Really?

I have called them the fourth branch of our federal government and that isn’t a fucking stretch if you think about it folks. Gates recent announcement of an annual ten percent cut in funding, aka jobs, for contractor’s sounds good, but something tells me it’s just more smoke and friggin mirrors. From TPM:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in announcing  new cost-saving measures for the Pentagon, said the DOD will dramatically cut funding for service support contractors, by 10 percent each year for the next three years.

He cited a “dramatic increase in the use of service support and advisory contractors” over the last 10 years — from 26 percent of workforce spending in 2000 to 39 percent last year. And that’s “not counting contractors supporting the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Gates also noted that the department last year said it’d cut the number of contractors by 33,000 by 2015.

“I’m not satisfied with the progress made to reduce our over-reliance on contractors,” he said.

The president’s deficit commission is reportedly wrestling over how to cut the fat from the DOD’s budget.

And as TPMmuckraker has reported, the number of contractors — both support and security — has spiked in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading the Congressional Research Service to ask, “Can contractors undermine U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan?” 

As TPM notes, the federal govt has been increasing the number of contractor’s contract’s for years in both Afghanistan an Iraq….so really….is it as big a deal as Gates is attempting to make it sound? When you add, then turn around and subtract…aren’t you back to square one? Also, I would bet my brown ass that the feds have added more than ten percent worth of contracts yearly since we invaded Iraq…

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? 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.

Gee, we have shady contractors in Afghanistan…who knew?

The title is tongue in cheek, but then…not really since the government evidently has just discovered how crooked and lousy American contractors are over in Afghanistan.

Personally, I have to wonder where in the blue hell their heads have been. From ProPublica:

The congressionally mandated Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan [1] met for the first time in Washington D.C. today, the start of a two-year long probe into corruption, abuse and fraud in the ongoing conflicts that may one day top a trillion dollars in cost.

Front and center was a 456-page report on greed and waste [2] in Iraq written by the Special Inspector General of Iraq [3], Stuart Bowen. The draft of Bowen’s report, entitled “Hard Lessons,” was first revealed in December in a joint reporting project [4] between ProPublica and the New York Times.

The final version contained much of the same details [5] about poor planning and oversight that led to billions of dollars wasted in the $50 billion effort to rebuild Iraq. But the director’s cut included some notable new sound bites.

Christ, are these government inspectors retarded or what? Did they think the same companies wouldn’t screw us in Afghanistan after years of hosing us in Iraq? Again from ProPublica:

But nobody seemed quite able to answer the question of who was watching the store in Afghanistan, where some $32 billion has already been spent. While the Inspector General for Iraq presented his hundreds of pages of learned lessons, his newly appointed counterpart for Afghanistan, the retired Marine Corp Major General Arnold Fields, wasn’t even invited to the hearing. Hearing Chairman Mike Thibault said that the Special Investigator for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan [8] organization was so new, it wouldn’t have been fair to expect expect testimony on their findings.

It’s a must read over at ProPublica folks…sure to chap your ass and jerk your evah-lovin chain.

Independent Contractors my ass..

KBR does it…and now another huge federal contractor is setting up ‘house’ offshore so it doesn’t have to pay their employees as… well…employees. This newest one is MPRI a sort of BlackWater-type company which is owned by L-3, one of the biggest federal carpetbaggers in the Middle East. From the IRS site on what makes one an Independent Contractor:

The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if you, the person for whom the services are performed, have the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result.

From ThinkProgress:

MPRI’s police trainers, who asked not to be identified, said they do not work that way. One former trainer working for MPRI in Iraq said that police trainers in Baghdad received letters at the end of 2005 saying that they might experience a brief disruption in their payments because “payroll was being moved to Bermuda to satisfy US tax code.”

The letters became a running joke among the trainers. “We said, ‘What do you mean, to avoid tax codes?‘” the former trainer recalled.

The Globe notes that as a result of MPRI’s practices, “workers cannot receive unemployment compensation when their jobs end and may be deprived of other protections under US law.”

Other protections such as Workers Compensation, payment into Social Security and Buddha knows what other traditional means that cover employees. Satisfy US tax codes…don’t the bastards mean to skate the US tax codes and screw their employees?