Wednesday, October 22, 2008

$2.6M Private Investigators Are Not Going to Iraq

An update on last week’s post here on the State Department’s outsourcing the investigation of contractors to other contractors – we did not see “M” explain why this extreme outsourcing was acceptable, but Walter Pincus of the Washington Post is reporting today (October 22, 2008; Page A17) that “the State Department suddenly canceled a contract for eight private investigators to assist U.S. officials in Iraq in "extremely complex and sensitive investigations," after a senator raised questions about whether the department had outsourced oversight of security contractors.”

According to TWP, in a letter to Senator Feingold dated Friday, Matthew A. Reynolds, assistant secretary for legislative affairs wrote that "the use of contract security specialists/investigators in the FIU has been terminated," and added that the contracted investigators were hired as "a short-term, interim measure" until the department could hire its own special agents. (Note: Contract says the period of performance runs from May 2008 – February 2009). The report also quoted DOS as saying that “the eight investigators were "monitored and directed" by agents from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, "who are federal law enforcement officials," to ensure that no direct criminal investigations were performed.”

The contractor, USIS, Ensuring a Safer Future Today, reportedly has no idea why the contract was canceled last week. Would somebody kindly enlighten them?

The $2.6M figure only includes the salary for the eight investigators @ $1,758,136.32, the 480 Hours Overtime @ $244,185.60 and the Danger Premium Pay and Post Differential @ $604,876.80. The figure does not include travel expenses, excess baggage, R&Rs, insurance premium, equipment, medical exams, training or the “company fees” at 78K.

Below is the quick journey of this story: September 19, 2008 – Senator Feingold urged the cancellation of the contract (PDF letter)

October 3 – ABC News broke the story

October 10 – POGO released the unredacted copy of a $4.4 million contract

October 17, 2008 – State Department canceled contract (except for adviser and translators)

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