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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

You Too Can Make Big $$$ by Pretending to Investigate Waste and Fraud 

A study in good old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity -- note especially how the resourceful Mr. Shaw finagled his way into the Iraqi port when his government credentials wouldn't do the trick. From the L.A. Times, courtesy of Zemblan patriot K.Z.:
A senior Defense Department official conducted unauthorized investigations of Iraq reconstruction efforts and used their results to push for lucrative contracts for friends and their business clients, according to current and former Pentagon officials and documents.

John A. "Jack" Shaw, deputy undersecretary for international technology security, represented himself as an agent of the Pentagon's inspector general in conducting the investigations, sources said.

In one case, Shaw disguised himself as an employee of Halliburton Co. and gained access to a port in southern Iraq after he was denied entry by the U.S. military, the sources said.

In that investigation, Shaw found problems with operations at the port of Umm al Qasr, Pentagon sources said. In another, he criticized a competition sponsored by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority to award cellphone licenses in Iraq.

In both cases, Shaw urged government officials to fix the alleged problems by directing multimillion-dollar contracts to companies linked to his friends, without competitive bidding, according to the Pentagon sources and documents. In the case of the port, the clients of a lobbyist friend won a no-bid contract for dredging.

Shaw's actions are the latest to raise concerns that senior Republican officials working in Washington and Iraq have used the rebuilding effort in Iraq to reward associates and political allies. One of Shaw's close friends, the former top U.S. transportation official in Iraq, is under investigation for his role in promoting an Iraqi national airline with a company linked to the Saddam Hussein regime . . . .

The FBI also is looking into allegations, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, that Shaw tried to steer a contract to create an emergency phone network for Iraq's security forces to a company whose board of directors included a friend and one of Shaw's employees.

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