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Firm That Vetted Snowden Accused of Fraud

US Investigations Services allegedly faked more than 660K background checks

(Newser) - If giving a thumbs up to Edward Snowden and US Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis didn't get US Investigations Services kicked off the federal government's Christmas card list, it's definitely off now. The Justice Department yesterday accused the contractor, which handles roughly 45% of federal background checks,... More » Contractor's Dodgy Past Slipped By Feds

Red flags should have stopped CGI from getting ObamaCare gig

(Newser) - It turns out there were even more reasons the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shouldn't have picked the free-wheeling and allegedly shady CGI Federal to build When CGI was vetted back in 2007, it didn't have any obvious black marks on its record, the Washington ... More »

Government Ruined My Life Over Auto-Complete: Suit

Man alleges that inadvertent search led to death threats, harassment

(Newser) - Jeffrey Kantor says the federal government mercilessly harassed him and got him fired over an accidental Google search. In a lawsuit spotted by Courthouse News , the Virginia man explains that he was trying to search for "How do I build a radio-controlled airplane?" But when he got as far... More »

Sebelius Calls for Investigation

She thinks HHS needs to improve how it handles contracts

(Newser) - Many in Washington are calling for an investigation into's disastrous debut—and now, that includes the woman who was in charge of it. In a blog post today, Kathleen Sebelius announced that she has asked Health and Human Services' inspector general to look into the website's... More »

EPA Finds Workers Using 'Man Caves'

Audit also uncovers vermin feces and 'pervasive' mold

(Newser) - Contractors for the Environmental Protection Agency have apparently been hard at work—in secret man caves furnished with pin-ups, TVs, fridges, and comfy couches. The EPA says it uncovered the screened-off rooms in a warehouse in Landover, Md, where contractors have supplied services to the agency since 2007. Most of... More »

Sequestration May Kick Washington Area in the Teeth

Defense Department will furlough some 90K employees

(Newser) - Shrugging off sequestration as a minor 2.4% federal budget cut that plays itself out gradually? A few riders on the 595 bus to Reston, Va., feel differently, knowing Northern Virginia and the Washington metro area will suffer most from the $85 billion in cuts, the New York Times reports.... More »

Iraqi Court Convicts First Westerner Since 2003

Danny Fitzsimons convicted of two counts of murder, one of attempted murder

(Newser) - An Iraqi court today convicted a British man and sentenced him to 20 years in prison over the shooting deaths of two contractors, making him the first Westerner convicted in an Iraqi court since the 2003 US invasion. Danny Fitzsimons, 30, was found guilty of fatally shooting a British and... More »

Foreign Workers at US Embassies Exploited

State Department report finds coercion, abuse among contractors

(Newser) - Contractors at US embassies in the Arab world are abusing and exploiting their foreign workers, according to a new State Department report spotted by Foreign Policy . The department’s inspector general looked into six contractors, and found that more than 70% of their workers “live in overcrowded, unsafe, or... More »

Karzai Ban May Squash US-Led Rebuilding Effort

US official: 'We might as well go home'

(Newser) - US-backed reconstruction projects—worth upward of $1.5 billion—are grinding to a halt, as firms begin to shutter them over the Afghan government's refusal to lift its ban on the use of private security contractors, reports the Washington Post . An official called the development "catastrophic" to America's effort... More »

Yet Another Blackwater Case Collapses

Issues with evidence, immunity make prosecution tough

(Newser) - Legal cases against Blackwater employees accused of committing murder and other violent crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan have been collapsing one by one, the New York Times reports. This week, the Justice Department dropped a case against an armorer accused of killing a guard to an Iraqi official; the move... More »

Contract Worker Says BP Covers Up Spill's Worst

Firm wants images of dead wildlife kept to a minimum

(Newser) - BP is covering up the worst of the environmental damage from the Gulf oil spill, using its influence to keep images of crude-choked wildlife from becoming public, an anonymous contract worker tells the New York Daily News . The worker gave the newspaper a tour of the spill's most devastating views,... More »

Civilian Contractor Deaths Soar in Afghanistan

In a first, support teams now outnumber soldiers

(Newser) - As the US ramps up its military presence in Afghanistan, life is becoming decidedly more dangerous for civilian contractors. Of the 289 killed there since the war started, 100 died in the last 6 months, reports ProPublica . And in what is apparently a first, the number of civilian workers (107,... More »

Pentagon Official Ran Private Assassin Support Crew

Honcho probed over secret 'Jason Bourne' crew

(Newser) - A senior Pentagon official secretly set up a private network of contractors to help track and kill militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, military officials say. Michael D. Furlong may have diverted money from other programs to fund his own network of former CIA and Special Forces operatives, officials tell the... More »

Up to 56,000 Contractors Headed to Afghanistan

'Second surge' would expand role of private sector in war zone

(Newser) - Talk of the 30,000 troops Obama is sending to Afghanistan fails to note that they're likely to be joined by as many as 56,000 civilians, according to a tally by a congressional agency. The second surge would bring the number of independent contractors in Afghanistan to somewhere between... More »

UK Contractor Held in Green Zone Killing of 2 Co-Workers

Incident is second this summer of violence within protected Baghdad area

(Newser) - A security contractor working in Iraq has been charged with fatally shooting two of his co-workers in Baghdad’s Green Zone, the Washington Post reports. Danny Fitzsimmons, an employee of British firm ArmorGroup Iraq, has been arrested in the killing of fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in... More »

In Recession, Homeowners Nail Contractors

As many vie for projects, consumer gains the upper hand

(Newser) - Hiring a contractor to remodel a kitchen or resurface a floor once meant a lot of hassle and some serious cash. But the recession has changed all that: Contractors these days are ready and willing to work on the cheap, Time reports. Projects are smaller, and spending on remodeling is... More »

Iraqis Detain 5 US Contractors in Murder Probe

(Newser) - Five US contractors have been detained in the investigation of the slaying of another American in Baghdad's Green Zone, officials said today, in what may become the first case of US citizens facing Iraqi justice under a security agreement that took effect this year. But the five have not been... More »

Stimulus Hasn't Reached States That Need It Most

(Newser) - The states President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package was most intended to help aren’t yet getting much out of it, USA Today reports after analyzing government contracts. The eight states with unemployment rates higher than 10% have seen an average of $7.42 per person from the $4... More »

Contractors Targeted in Pentagon Cuts

Gates aims to have procurement staff employed directly by Pentagon

(Newser) - The Pentagon's new budget proposal cuts the role of private contractors by a third—back to pre-9/11 levels—the Washington Post reports. Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to replace tens of thousands of contracted workers with people employed directly by the Pentagon, especially among the vast workforce tasked with buying... More »

Inquiry Into Iraqi Graft Expands to Top US Officers

(Newser) - The United States' poor track record on rebuilding Iraq has long been chalked up to lousy planning by Pentagon brass. But an expanding investigation by federal authorities adds another element to the mix: possible corruption by the military commanders who oversaw reconstruction in the Wild West days after the invasion,... More »

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