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Lawsuit: US Contractors Basically Funded the Taliban

The civil suit was filed on Friday

(Newser) - A lawsuit filed Friday claims that US and international contractors paid the Taliban protection money to complete projects in Afghanistan—and says that money was used to kill Americans, the Wall Street Journal reports. The plaintiffs are family members of 143 US service members and contractors who were wounded or... More »

Whistleblower Reveals 'Secret' Siri Recordings

Apple tells contractors to stop listening to Siri recordings

(Newser) - Think Siri doesn't listen? It does at times—so Apple has told contractors to stop listening to recordings made on the iOS software, the Guardian reports. This after a whistleblower report in the Guardian found that contractors, hired to maintain quality control, were hearing private recordings made unintentionally by... More »

Family of Storm Chaser Killed in Crash Sues TWC for $125M

Corbin Lee Jaeger's mom says 2 Weather Channel contractors were 'habitually reckless and dangerous'

(Newser) - Nearly two years to the day after three storm-chasers were killed in a Texas crash , the mother of one of the men has filed a $125 million lawsuit against The Weather Channel, per USA Today . The complaint filed by Karen Di Piazza, mother of the National Weather Service's Corbin... More »

Cops: FEMA Contractor Killed Hurricane Victim

Gerjuan Jackson assessed William Reiss' damage, learned of his guns

(Newser) - He was a victim of Hurricane Irma, and then allegedly a victim of something much worse. Police say William Reiss, 68, was murdered on Jan. 3 by the FEMA contractor who compiled the damage estimate of his Polk County, Fla., home in September. The New York Daily News describes Reiss... More »

Facebook's Move Against Hate Speech, With 500 New Helpers

A new law would fine social networking sites for failing to remove content

(Newser) - Facebook is adding 500 more contractors in Germany to review content posted to the social media site, after a new law came into force targeting online hate speech, the AP reports. The company says the staff will work for a service provider called CCC at a new office in the... More »

Are Amazon's 'Last Mile' Drivers 'Utterly Expendable'?

Gizmodo says contracted workers aren't exactly living the dream that job ads push

(Newser) - Amazon has an open secret that few pay heed to: a "nearly invisible workforce" that works to get consumers their packages on demand, per Gizmodo . Bryan Menegus dives into the company's Flex program, responsible for the firm's "last-mile" service, which involves getting ordered goods to a... More »

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 »

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