Homeland Security | Arkansas Blog

Homeland Security

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LA Times article can't help but remind me of the boatload of former Homeland Security officials who rushed through the doors to new careers in lobbying and selling security goods to their former public employer. We hear at least one has his expertise on offer in Arkansas.

WASHINGTON — Contract spending by the Department of Homeland Security has surged by billions of dollars since the agency's creation in 2003, but contracts have been plagued by large-scale waste, abuse and mismanagement, according to a bipartisan congressional report.

The agency has repeatedly planned contract projects improperly, has increasingly awarded them without adequate competition, and has not had enough staff to monitor contracts after they have been signed, the report said. Moreover, costs have frequently spiraled beyond initial estimates, which department personnel sometimes set misleadingly low, the report said.

The report, prepared by staff of the House Committee on Government Reform, pointed to a case in which the Border Patrol paid $20 million for camera systems and related gear that malfunctioned or were never installed.

It said a $10-billion border security program meant to track visitors' U.S. entries and departures was not able to monitor exits and was vulnerable to unauthorized access.

Describing a $1-billion Transportation Safety Administration contract with Unisys Corp. in August 2002 to upgrade computer networks, investigators said Unisys overcharged taxpayers by billing up to $131 an hour for employees who were paid less than half that amount.

And TSA staff had privately estimated the cost of the Unisys contract at $3 billion to $5 billion but told congressional officials it would cost $1 billion because the lower number "would be more palatable."

 

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