The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Saturday, June 28

smarts and more smarts

Counterpunch has an article by Ray McGovern of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). VIPS has been publishing their concerns on the manipulation of intelligence since February.
In sum, the evidence presented in last September's intelligence estimate fell far short of what was required to support Cheney's claim that Iraq was on the road to a nuclear weapon. Something scarier had to be produced, and quickly, if Congress was to be persuaded to authorize war. And so the decision was made to dust off the uranium-from-Niger canard.

The White House calculated--correctly--that before anyone would make an issue of the fact that this key piece of "intelligence" was based on a forgery, Congress would vote yes. The war could then be waged and won. In recent weeks, administration officials have begun spreading the word that Cheney was never told the Iraq-Niger story was based on a forgery. I asked a senior official who recently served at the National Security Council if he thought that was possible. He pointed out that rigorous NSC procedures call for a very specific response to all vice presidential questions and added that "the fact that Cheney's office had originally asked that the Iraq-Niger report be checked out makes it inconceivable that his office would not have been informed of the results."
William Rivers Pitt at Truth Out also has an interview with Ray McGovern that is worth reading.
Pitt: There was the August 6 2001 briefing…

McGovern: On August 6, the title of the briefing was, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US,” and that briefing had the word “Hijacking” in it. That’s all I know about it, but that’s quite enough. In September, Bush had to make a decision. Is it feasible to let go of Tenet, whose agency flubbed the dub on this one? And the answer was no, because Tenet knows too much about what Bush knew, and Bush didn’t know what to do about it. That’s the bottom line for me.
In the meantime, Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee will be conducting their own inquiry into pre-war intelligence and links between Al Qaeda and Iraq. A UN committee on Thursady announced thay had found no connection.

Contract News

Halliburton/KBR has awarded a $41 million dollar subcontract for catering services while working in Iraq. Given the size of the subcontract, bpost thought it worth noting.
Renaissance Services [Contract Services Group] has bagged a $41 million (RO15.92 million) contract to provide catering services in Iraq for Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), a press release said. Mobilisation of the contract commences with immediate effect, with services expected to commence within one month. The scope of work requires the establishment and equipment of kitchen/dining facilities to cater for several thousand people. The contract duration is for six months, with three subsequent renewal options of six months each.

Execution of the contract is logistically taxing and presents considerable operational risk. The contract has been won in collaboration with Heston Services, which provides logistics and administration services to Renaissance in Kuwait and Iraq.
Two snips in GovExec that caught our attention:
Military officials should make comprehensive lists of all contractors services used at any given location, GAO said. Without these lists, it is hard for commanders to figure out where to go for help if they have questions regarding contractor support. A lack of information on total contractor support also makes it difficult to estimate total costs associated with these services.

Also, the Pentagon should standardize contract language, GAO recommended. Otherwise, mistakes can disrupt operations. For example, the Army left deployment clauses out of some contracts for work in Iraq. This omission resulted in “increased contract costs as well as delays in getting contractors into the field.”
Ok. We'll bite. How much are those "increased contract costs"?


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