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Congresswoman: U.S. ties with Xe, formerly Blackwater, must end

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:48 PM
Original message
Congresswoman: U.S. ties with Xe, formerly Blackwater, must end
Congresswoman: U.S. ties with Xe, formerly Blackwater, must end

August 8, 2009 -- Updated 0258 GMT (1058 HKT)

By Charley Keyes


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A member of Congress Friday called on the State Department to stop doing business with Xe, the North Carolina-based security company formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, on Friday urged the State Department "not to enter into further contracts" with Xe.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton whether the State Department had just signed a new $20 million dollar contract with Xe for Iraq, saying she is "very concerned" that the State Department may be signing new security contracts with Xe, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I urge you not to enter into further contracts with Xe and to immediately review any existing contracts," the letter said, according to a copy provided to CNN. "The behavior and actions of both the company's leadership and a number of individuals employed by the company have harmed our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan and endangered the lives and welfare of our troops and diplomatic personnel serving overseas."

The State Department decided in January not to renew a personnel protection contract with Blackwater, as the company was then known, when it expired in May. That decision came amidst an investigation by both U.S. and Iraqi authorities of a 2007 shooting involving Blackwater guards in Baghdad in which 17 Iraqis were killed. The company has repeatedly denied any wrong-doing.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request Friday for reaction to Schakowsky's questions and criticism. The State Department had said that it would continue a Blackwater air-support contract after the much-larger personnel protection contract ended.

Xe spokeswoman Stacy DeLuke told CNN that, "Right now we have no contracts with the State Department in Iraq."

more...

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/US/08/07/iraq.blackwater.xe...
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
1. Do the same with CACI, L3, and the rest of the rent-a-torturer agencies
How may prisoners do you have to murder before they disbar your contract?
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Not relevant (unfortunately)
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. CACI employed some of the torturers. How is that not relevant? n/t
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Because it is not a violation of the FAR for which they can be banned from Federal contracting
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-11-09 06:56 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Nonsense. Criminal and civil violations are grounds for disbarment - FAR was amended last year:
Edited on Tue Aug-11-09 07:04 AM by leveymg
The contractor is under an affirmative obligation to report "credible evidence" of criminal or certain civil violations. Failure to do so itself constitutes grounds for disbarment under recent changes to the FAR.

http://www.reinhartlaw.com/Publications/Documents/ea090...

Federal Contractors Subject to Stricter Disclosure and Compliance Requirements

Federal government contractors are now subject to heightened disclosure and compliance requirements. Effective December 12, 2008, the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) was amended to: (i) require government contractors to disclose certain violations of the civil False Claims Act or criminal law whenever the contractor has "credible evidence" of such violations; (ii) allow for suspension or disbarment of a contractor who knowingly fails to disclose possible violations or significant overpayments; and (iii) impose additional requirements on contractor compliance programs and internal controls.1

In issuing the new rule, the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Council acknowledged that the mandatory disclosure requirements present a "sea change" and "major departure" from voluntary disclosure programs, which have largely been ignored by government contractors for the past 10 years.2

Applicability of FAR

The FAR applies to contracts for the acquisitions of supplies or services by Federal agencies3, including the purchase of health care items and services through the TRICARE/CHAMPUS program. Notably, the FAR does not apply to health care providers merely because they have entered into a Medicare provider agreement. A Medicare provider agreement is not considered a contract acquisition that is covered by the FAR. Accordingly, Medicare providers will not be subject to the FAR's requirements unless the provider has separately entered into a covered contract with a federal agency.

The FAR's New Mandatory Disclosure and Compliance Requirements

Mandatory Disclosure of Violations and Significant Overpayments. The new FAR rules require a contractor to disclose violations of federal criminal law, the Federal Civil False Claims Act and significant overpayments occurring in connection with a covered contract whenever there is "credible evidence" that the violation or overpayment has occurred. These disclosure obligations apply to violations and overpayments committed on existing and future contracts, as well as contracts for which final payment was received within the last three years. The knowing failure of a principal to timely disclose any such violation or overpayment could subject the contractor to suspension and disbarment.

A "principal" means "an officer, director, owner, partner, or a person having primary management or supervisory responsibilities within a business entity."

While the regulations do not define what constitutes "credible evidence," the phrase implies that the contractor may take the time to preliminarily examine the evidence relating to a possible violation of federal criminal law in connection with a contract, the Federal False Claims Act or a significant overpayment to determine the credibility of the evidence before deciding to make a disclosure.5

Until a contractor has determined the evidence to be credible, there can be no "knowing failure to timely disclose."6

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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 08:05 PM
Response to Original message
2. Schakowsky needs to read up on the FAR, after 6 terms you think she would know better
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Federal Acquisition Regs don't say that the USG agencies must renew any contract
In fact, there are a 100 ways to lose the oneS you already have.

Are you referring to anything in particular that Schakowsky should be aware of, or just being contrary, tonight?
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 09:21 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. Its not so much not renew or not exercise options as much as getting disbarred
If they are not disbarred they can compete and possibly win any open competition for a successor contract.

When I hear pols whine about this company or another holding Federal contracts, its just so much noise unless there is a reason to disbar them, which the legislative branch does not have the authority to do.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-11-09 07:10 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. You need to update your knowledge base, professor. See #11 above.
Edited on Tue Aug-11-09 07:11 AM by leveymg
The public and Members of Congress can certainly make sure the agency learns about disbarable violations of law by contractors. If action isn't taken, Congress can hold hearings and cut the agency budget, specifically disallowing funding for certain programs - that happens all the time.

Where did you say you teach, professor?
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 08:14 PM
Response to Original message
5. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread, babylonsister.
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NightWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 08:17 PM
Response to Original message
6. contractors do things that governments do not want to do themselves but need done
this is not a defense of contractors, but a condemnation of a system that allows (no, encourages) private companies to serve a niche or need that the government cannot stomach.

I would love to say more since I worked for an intel contractor, but alas I cannot. Just know that there is a HUGE industry of companies that do things most people could not fathom their government doing or having done on their behalf
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Wednesdays Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 09:04 PM
Response to Original message
8. K&R
:kick:
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-11-09 06:56 AM
Response to Original message
12. Recommend
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-11-09 06:58 AM
Response to Original message
13. Agree...although I suspect convergent intere$ts will keep them snug as a bug
Rec'd
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conscious evolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-11-09 07:17 AM
Response to Original message
15. XE is a criminal organization
The only way our goverment should be dealing with them is through a war crimes tribunal.
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