Category: Spooks

EXCLUSIVE: Secretive defense contractor hires Dana Perino in DC lobbying push

A secretive defense contractor that is at the center of a congressional investigation of a $1.4 billion contract to supply aviation fuel at the U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan has hired a powerhouse D.C. lobbying team that includes Dana Perino and others from the Bush White House.

Congress wants to know whether the sole-source, classified contracts awarded to Mina Corp., Ltd., and Red Star Enterprises Ltd., were a vehicle for the U.S. government to deliver payoffs to the family of Kyrgyzstan leaders who were ousted amid charges of corruption linked to the Manas air base.

Mina Corp.’s fuel contract, awarded last year, is worth up to $730.9 million over three years for services at the Manas, the only U.S. airbase in Central Asia outside of Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan has also opened its own investigation, prompting the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek to say that the contract was issued in accordance with U.S. and local laws. Mina Corp has told both governments that it has never directed U.S. government funds to Kyrgyz officials.

As Congress turned up the heat on Mina and Red Star in July, the companies sent Washington lobbyists to the Hill to plead their case.

Senate lobbying disclosure forms show that on July 12 Mina Corp. hired public affairs firm Hamilton Place Strategies LLC to lobby Congress and the Defense Department.

Senate filings show the Hamilton Place team includes Perino, now a Fox News political commentator, W. Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the McCain/Palin campaign who handled the “Troopergate” affair, and Tony Fratto, who spoke for the president on issues including intelligence matters, terrorist financing and financial crimes.

Also joining the Mina Corp. team this month were McLean, Virginia-based Dudinsky, Lisker & Associates, which says it is “monitoring and reporting Congressional activity” on behalf of Mina.” Principal Joel Lisker is a former FBI agent who headed the Justice Department’s foreign agent registration unit in the Carter years. His investigation led the president’s brother, Billy, to register as a foreign agent for Libya.

Barbour, Griffith & Rogers’ Ed Rogers, a Reagan and Bush I White House veteran, and Morris Reid, registered July 20 as lobbyists for Mina to handle a House investigation regarding Department of Defense contracts to provide jet fuel to U.S. military base in Bagham, Afghanistan.

Jeff Stein at The Washington Post’s SpyTalk blog reported last wek that after weeks of tense negotiations, a House oversight subcommittee has gotten promises of cooperation from Mina and Red Star.

“The heart of the investigation,” a source told Stein, “is why Red Star and Mina Corp. were not investigated under” the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which forbids U.S. companies from paying bribes or kickbacks to foreign officials.”

Mina Corp. has also hired the D.C. law firm, Weil, Gotschal and Manges LLP. The Weil team includes partner William Burck, who served in the Bush White House Counsel’s office. Burck specializes in FCPA investigations among other things, according to his law firm biography.

In a press release announcing last week’s agreement between Mina, Red Star and the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Burck said maintaining his client’s secrecy was a key to the deal.

“We’ve worked closely with staff to make sure the Subcommittee obtains the information it seeks while preserving the confidentiality of the companies’ operations and the privacy of its personnel.  Confidentiality is essential to permit the companies to meet the U.S. military’s needs in volatile areas of the world and supply vital fuel to our troops in the field.”

Burck and Perino have a close working relationship. They have penned regular columns critical of the Obama administration for National Review Online.

The Senate lobbying forms also raise fresh questions about who or what is behind Mina and Red Star.

The Defense Department has identified to Mina and Red Star Enterprises as companies based in Gibraltar. Mina Corp. was registered in London in 2003, records show.

The Senate lobbying disclosures identify Mina as a Dubai firm affiliated with “Mina Petroleum FZE” with an office in the Dubai Airport Free Zone. Companies operating within the free zone are treated as offshore, outside the United Arab Emirates.

Adding to the confusion, Mina’s webserver, minacorp.com, is registered in Vernier, Switzerland.

Anwar al-Awlaki Timeline

April 1971: Anwar al-Awlaki born in Cruces, N.M. while father is on diplomatic posting.

1978: Leaves U.S. for Yemen.

Jan. 13, 1988: Issued U.S. passport.

Awlaki

June 5, 1990: Enters U.S. in Chicago with Yemeni passport with J-1 exchange visitor U.S. visa issued in Sana’a.

June 6, 1990: Applies for Social Security card. Claims he was born in Sana’a, Yemen.

June 8, 1990: SSN 521-77-7121 issued to Awlaki.

Aug. 21, 1991: Enters U.S. in Chicago.

1991: Attends Colorado State University on a scholarship from Yemen.

Jan. 29, 1992: Enters U.S. in New York City.

Nov. 18, 1993: Applies for a U.S. passport in Fort Collins, Colo.

1994: Graduates from Colorado State with bachelor’s in civil engineering.

1996: Named imam of Masjid al-Rabat in San Diego.

1996: Busted for soliciting a prostitute in San Diego.

Time uncertain: Arrested by San Diego police “for hanging around a school.” (9/11 Commission MFR FBI Agent #59)

1997: Busted again for soliciting a prostitute in San Diego.

1998 & 1999: Serves as vice president of Charitable Society for Social Welfare Inc., the U.S. branch of a Yemeni charity headed by Abdul Majeed al-Zindani. Federal prosecutors in a New York terrorism-financing case later describe the charity as “a front organization” that was “used to support al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.”

January 1999: Enrolls in San Diego State University master’s in educational leadership program. SDSU spokesman says the school does not have records showing Awlaki earned a degree.

June 1999: FBI investigates Awlaki after learning that he may have been contacted by Ziyad Khaleel, who bought a satellite phone bin Laden used in the 1990s.

1999-2000: During its investigation, FBI learns that Awlaki knows individuals from the Holy Land Foundation and others involved in raising money for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Sources alleged that Aulaqi had other extremist connections. (9/11 Commission Report)

February 2000: Four calls between Awlaki and Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi who helped Al-Hamzi and Almihdhar find an apartment in San Diego. An FBI agent tells 9/11 Commission staff he is “98 percent sure” that the two hijackers were using al-Bayoumi’s phone at this time. (9/11 Commission MFR FBI Agent #63)

Early 2000: Visited by a subject of a Los Angeles FBI investigation closely associated with Blind Sheikh [Omar Abdel] Rahman. (Congressional Joint Inquiry on 9/11)

Early 2000: Several sources tell FBI that Alwaki “had closed-door meetings in San Diego” with Alhazmi, al-Midhar and another unidentified person “whom al-Bayoumi had asked to help the hijackers.” (Congressional Joint Inquiry)

Feb. 3, 2000: FBI electronic communication, background searches re: Awlaki. (9/11 Commission report)

March 2000: FBI closes its investigation, stating “the imam … does not meet the criterion for [further] investigation.” (Congressional Joint Inquiry on 9/11)

July-August 2000: Resigns from San Diego mosque.

Summer-Fall 2000: Travels abroad to “various countries.” (SD Union-Tribune 10/1/01)

January 2001: Moves to Virginia. Employed at Dar Al-Hijra Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., largest mosque in the country.

January 2001: Enrolls in George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development, pursing a Ph.D in human resource development.

Unknown: Meets Nidal Hasan, future Fort Hood shooter.

Early 2001: Named Muslim chaplain at GWU.

April 2001: Al-Hazmi and Hani Hanjour arrive in Falls Church and attend Dar Al-Hijra mosque. Awlaki denies having contact with the men in Virginia. (9/11 Commission report)

July 20, 2001: Delivers sermon at Friday Jummah Prayer in U.S. Capitol.

Before Sept. 11, 2001: Awlaki returns briefly to San Diego (9/11 Commission MFR) “Reportedly acted suspiciously by declining help with boxes he was transporting in a rental car (driven only 37 miles) and by refusing to provide any local address to the rental agent.” (9/11 Commission MFR FBI Agent #59)

August 2001: According to NY Times, Awlaki tells neighbor Lincoln Higgie, “I don’t think you’ll be seeing me. I won’t be coming back to San Diego again. Later on you’ll find out why.”

Sept. 17, 2001: In comments published on IslamOnline, Alawki suggested that Israelis may have been responsible for the 9/11 attacks and that the FBI “went into the roster of the airplanes and whoever has a Muslim or Arab name became the hijacker by default.”

Sept. 15-19, 2001: Interviewed four times by FBI. Awlaki says he did not recognize Hazmi’s name but identifies his picture. Admitted meeting with Hazmi several times, he claimed not to remember any specifics of what they discussed. Describes Hazmi as a soft-spoken Saudi student who used to appear at the mosque with a companion but who did not have a large circle of friends. Does not identify Almihdhar.

September-November 2001: Interviewed numerous times by reporters, including National Geographic, Ray Suarez and The Washington Post.

2001-2002: Awlaki observed allegedly taking Washington-area prostitutes into Virginia. Authorities contemplate charging him under the Mann Act, reserved for nabbing pimps who transport prostitutes across state lines.

March 2002: Awlaki leaves for U.K.

March 31, 2002: Lectures at Quran Expo in London

April 2002: Employment with Dar Al-Hijra mosque ends.

2002: Federal prosecutors in Colorado receive information from Ray Fournier, a federal diplomatic security agent in San Diego who was investigating Awlaki for passport fraud.

June 2002: Figures in Operation Green Quest, a terrorism-related money-laundering investigation.

Mid-2002: Radwan Abu-Issa, the subject of a Houston Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation, sends money to Awlaki, according to a document in a restricted government database. Awlaki’s name was placed on an early version of what is now the federal terror watch list.

June 17, 2002: Federal magistrate in Colorado signs warrant for Awlaki’s arrest for passport fraud.

October 2002: A federal diplomatic special agent in Colorado began investigating in preparation to take the case to a grand jury learns Awlaki corrected the place of birth on his Social Security application to New Mexico.

Oct. 8, 2002: FBI electronic communication, interview re: Awlaki. (9/11 Commission Report)

Oct. 9, 2002: Arrest warrant rescinded.

Oct. 10, 2002: Arrives in New York on a Saudi Airlines flight from Riyadh. Briefly detained by INS.

Oct. 11, 2002: Criminal case terminated.

Late 2002: Visits Fairfax, Virginia home of Ali al-Timimi, a radical cleric, and asked him about recruiting young Muslims for “violent jihad.” Al-Timimi, is now serving a life sentence for inciting followers to fight with the Taliban against Americans.

Late 2002: Departs U.S. for London.

June 2003: Delivers lecture at Muslim Association of Britain symposium in London

December 2003: Islamic Forum of Europe lecture: “Stop police terror.”

Dec. 18, 2003: British MP Louise Ellman tells House of Commons calls Muslim Association of Britain is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood; says Awlaki “is reportedly wanted for questioning by the FBI in connection with the 9/11 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.”

Early 2004: Moves to Yemen.

2004: Lectures at Imam University in Sana’a, Yemen, a school headed by Abdul Majeed al-Zindani.

Mid-2006: Awlaki arrested in Yemen. Claims he was held at the request of the U.S. government.

Oct. 17, 2006: Yemeni secret police raid swept up eight foreigners living in Sana’a, under surveillance by the CIA and British intelligence, and at least 12 other men across Yemen. Yemeni authorities insist they dismantled an al-Qa’ida cell and disrupted a gun-running ring to neighbouring Somalia, although no evidence is found. Awlaki (identified as “Abu Atiq”) said to be key to the raid.

September 2007: FBI agents interview Awlaki in prison. Ask about contacts with 9/11 hijackers.

December 2007: Awlaki released after 18 months confinement in Yemen, almost all of it in solitary confinement.

Anwar Awlaki in 2008

February 2008: Registers http://www.anwar-alawlaki.com

February 2008: U.S. counterterrorism officials link Awlaki to terrorism, The Washington Post reports. “There is good reason to believe Anwar Aulaqi has been involved in very serious terrorist activities since leaving the United States, including plotting attacks against America and our allies,” an anonymous U.S. counterterrorism official tells the Post.

Unknown: Awlaki leaves Sana’a and moves to remote Shabwa region.

Dec. 17, 2008: Maj. Nidal Hasan contacts Awlaki via e-mail. “Do you remember me? I used to pray with you at the Virginia mosque.” Awlaki tells Al-Jazeera: “He was asking about killing American soldiers and officers. [He asked] whether this is a religiously legitimate act or not.”

“…the first message was asking for an edict regarding the [possibility] of a Muslim soldier killing his colleagues who serve with him in the American army. In other messages, Nidal was clarifying his position regarding the killing of Israeli civilians. He was in support of this, and in his messages he mentioned the religious justifications for targeting the Jews with missiles. Then there were some messages in which he asked for a way through which he could transfer some funds to us [and by this] participate in charitable activities.”

December 2008: San Diego JTTF opens investigation into intercepted e-mails between Awlaki and Maj. Nidal Hasan. (FBI statement)

Jan. 1, 2009: Awlaki speaks via satellite link at London Muslim Centre. Event organized by Noor Pro Media.

January 2009: In blog post, Awlaki asks: “Today the world turns upside down when one Muslim performs a martyrdom operation. Can you imagine what would happen if that is done by seven hundred Muslims on the same day?!”

January 20, 2009: Al Qaida forces in Yemen unite under the umbrella of Al Qaida in the Arabian Pensinsula (AQAP).

February 2009: Awlaki blog post, “I pray that Allah destroys America and all its allies and the day that happens, and I assure you it will and sooner than you think, I will be very pleased.”

Early 2009: E-mail contacts continue between Awlaki and Hassan. FBI San Diego forwards two messages to Washington Field Office. Later e-mail described as “more serious” not shared.

March 15, 2009: AQAP claims credit for attacks that kills four South Korean tourists and their guide in in the city of Shibam in Hadramut; days later, a convoy of Korean officials sent to investigate is attacked.

July 2009: Awlaki praises insurgent attack on Yemeni troops in Marib.

Aug. 4: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Nigerian suspected of trying to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253, attends Sana’a Institute for the Arabic Language, according to the Yemeni Foreign Ministry.

August: The U.S. National Security Agency intercepts al-Qaida conversations about an unidentified “Nigerian.”

Aug. 27: AQAP claims credit for an attack that narrowly missed Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a senior member of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family and head of the kingdom’s counterterrorism operations. Suicide bomber detonated PETN bomb hidden in his underwear.

Sept. 21: Abdulmutallab leaves Sana’a Institute.

Fall: NSA intercepts “voice-to-voice communication” between Abdulmutallab and Awlaki indicating that Aulaqi “was in some way involved in facilitating this guy’s transportation or trip through Yemen.”

October: Abdulmutallab travels to Shabwa province. The 23-year-old engineering graduate probably met with al-Qaeda operatives in a house built by Awlaki.

October: CIA rebuffs Yemeni government request for help locating Awlaki for possible capture operation, according to The Washington Post’s David Ignatius. CIA concluded that it could not assist because the agency lacked specific evidence that he threatened the lives of Americans. A Yemeni request forU.S. Special Forces’ help on the ground in pursuing Awlaki also refused.

Fall: Awlaki tells Yemeni journalist that he met Abdulmutallab:

  • “Umar Farouk is one of my students; I had communications with him,” Awlaki says
  • Yemeni Foreign Minister Rashad Alimi states Abdulmutallab met Awlaki at a remote meeting place in Shabwa province.
  • Abdulmutallab tells FBI that Alwaki personally blessed attack.

November: U.S. official tells David Ignatius Awlaki “didn’t go operational until November. It wasn’t a case of missed intelligence, not at all. The Yemenis didn’t even think he had assumed an operational role.” This official also notes that “there was an American policy decision not to put boots on the ground,” limiting any military action.

Nov. 5, 2009: Hasan allegedly kills 13 at Fort Hood.

Nov. 7, 2009: Post on Awlaki’s website praises Hasan as a “hero.”

After the Fort Hood shooting, FBI, CIA, NSA, NCTC conduct interagency “scrub” of Awlaki’s contacts to determine who poses a threat. (Michael Leiter, testimony 1/20/09 before Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.)

Dec. 7, 2009: Abdulmutallab leaves Yemen for Ethiopia.

Dec. 14, 2009: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton designates Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula aka Al Qaeda in Yemen as a terrorist organization. Two AQAP leaders, Nasir al-Wahishi and Said Ali al-Shihri, also designated as terrorists

Dec. 23, 2009: Al-Jazeera broadcasts interview with Awlaki.

Dec. 24, 2009: Awlaki falsely reported as killed in Yemeni airstrike.

  • On orders from President Barack Obama, ABC News reports, the U.S. military launched cruise missiles against two suspected al-Qaida sites: a suspected training camp north of Sanaa and a location where officials said “an imminent attack against a U.S. asset was being planned.”
  • Yemen Embassy states Yemeni air forces targeted “scores of Yemeni and foreign al-Qaida operatives” at a remote location southeast of Sanaa. Awlaki “presumed to be at the site” along with Nasir al-Whaishi, senior leader of Al Qaida in the Arabian Pensinsula (AQAP) and his deputy, (former Guantanamo detainee) Said al-Shiri.
  • Official Yemen state news agency, SABA, reports attack targeted an al-Qaida hideout in the Rafdh area of the al-Said district in Shabwa province.

Dec. 25, 2009: Rep. Pete Hoekstra, senior Republican on House Intelligence Committee, suggests there may be a link between Awlaki and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Dec. 29, 2009: Alwaki became “operational” sometime over past year, senior U.S. official tells Fox News.

“Late” 2009: Awlaki’s name added to separate lists of maintained “High Value Targets” and “High Value Individuals” maintained by U.S. Joint Special Operations Command’s list and the Central Intelligence Agency

Jan. 3, 2010: “Mr. Awlaki is a problem. He’s clearly a part of Al Qaida in Arabian Peninsula. He’s not just a cleric. He is in fact trying to instigate terrorism,” said John Brennan, deputy national security advisor for counterterrorism and homeland security.

Jan. 14: Ali Mohamed Al Anisi, the director of Yemen’s National Security Agency and a senior presidential adviser, said talks were under way with members of Mr. Awlaki’s tribe in an effort to convince the cleric to turn himself in.

Jan. 19: Awlaki tells Yemeni journalist he has no intention of surrendering and denies Yemeni government claims that negotiations were underway aiming at a surrender.

Jan. 20: Senate Foreign Relations Committee report: “Although Awlaki has not yet been accused of a crime, U.S. intelligence and military officials consider him to be a direct threat to U.S. interests.”

Jan. 25: ABC News reports, “White House lawyers are mulling the legality of proposed attempts to kill an American citizen, Anwar Awlaki … according to two people briefed by U.S. intelligence officials.”

Jan. 27: The Washington Post:

  • “U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people….”
  • “As part of the operations, Obama approved a Dec. 24 strike against a compound where a U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was thought to be meeting with other regional al-Qaeda leaders. Although he was not the focus of the strike and was not killed, he has since been added to a shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing or capture by the JSOC, military officials said.”
  • “Both the CIA and the JSOC maintain lists of individuals, called “High Value Targets” and “High Value Individuals,” whom they seek to kill or capture. The JSOC list includes three Americans, including Aulaqi, whose name was added late last year. As of several months ago, the CIA list included three U.S. citizens, and an intelligence official said that Aulaqi’s name has now been added.”

Jan. 31: LA Times: “While Awlaki has not yet been placed on the CIA list, the officials said it is all but certain that he will be added because of the threat he poses. … Awlaki is already on the military’s list, which is maintained by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command.”

Feb. 2: Awlaki tells Al-Jazeera that he did not order the Christmas Day airliner bombing, but expresses support.

Feb. 3: Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair says intelligence community may assassinate U.S. citizens involved in terrorism. “We take direct actions against terrorists in the intelligence community,” he said. “If we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.”

Feb. 5: CBS News: “The suspect in a failed Christmas Day airliner bombing attempt told federal investigators that radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki directed him to carry out the attack, CBS News has learned”

March 19: Awlaki calls on American Muslims to take up Jihad against the United States.

March 26: CIA Director Leon Panetta tells WSJ Awlaki is “clearly” someone the agency is seeking. “There isn’t any question that he’s one of the individuals that we’re focusing on.”

May 23: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a 45-minute interview with Awlaki, who justifies killing American civilians.

June 3: DOJ reveals that Awlaki had been in e-mail contact with 29-year-0ld Barry Walter Bujol in Texas. Awlaki provided Bujol with a document entitled “42 Ways of Supporting Jihad.” Bujol asked Awlaki for advice on how to provide money to the “mujahideen” overseas.

CIA Passed Up Chance To Catch Ex-SD Imam

David Ignatius:

Last October, the Yemeni government came to the CIA with a request: Could the agency collect intelligence that might help target the network of a U.S.-born al-Qaeda recruiter named Anwar al-Aulaqi?

What happened next is haunting, in light of subsequent events: The CIA concluded that it could not assist the Yemenis in locating Aulaqi for a possible capture operation. The primary reason was that the agency lacked specific evidence that he threatened the lives of Americans — which is the threshold for any capture-or-kill operation against a U.S. citizen. The Yemenis also wanted U.S. Special Forces’ help on the ground in pursuing Aulaqi; that, too, was refused.

Even if the CIA had obtained hard evidence in October that Aulaqi was a threat, and Special Forces had been authorized for a capture operation, permission from the National Security Council would have been needed. That’s because any use of lethal force against a “U.S. person,” such as Aulaqi, requires White House review.

The subsequent chain of events was a chilling demonstration of Aulaqi’s power as an al-Qaeda facilitator: On Nov. 5, U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Tex.; Hasan had exchanged 18 or more e-mails with Aulaqi in the months before the shootings, according to the Associated Press. Then, on Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who had been living in Yemen, tried to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit; he is said to have confessed later that Aulaqi was one of his trainers for this mission.

Former SD Imam Calls for Jihad on US

Partial transcript of remarks by former San Diego imam and SDSU grad student Anwar al-Awlaki, who’s holed up in Yemen and corresponded with Maj. Nidal Hasan before the Fort Hood shooting (Via Fox News):

… I for one was born in the U.S., I lived in the U.S. for 21 years. America was my home. I was a preacher of Islam involved in non-violent Islamic activism. However, with the American invasion of Iraq and continued U.S. aggression against Muslims I could not reconcile between living in the U.S. and being a Muslim.

And I eventually came to the conclusion that Jihad against America is binding upon myself just as it is binding on every other able Muslim. Nidal Hasan was not recruited by Al-Qaeda. Nidal Hasan was recruited by American crimes and this is what America refuses to admit. America refuses to admit that its foreign policies are the reason behind the man like Nidal Hasan — born and raised in the U.S. turning his guns against American soldiers. And the more crimes America commits the more mujahedeen will be recruited to fight against it. … 

SBInet: "Can we Get a Refund?"

Two House subcommittees held a hearing today on the ongoing problems with the multi-billion dollar “virtual border fence” being built by Boeing Corp. along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Earlier this week, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano froze funding out of concerns that the program, called SBInet, was plagued with problems. More than $1b has already been spent but the system has only been installed along 28 miles of the 2,000-mile border.

At the current rate of 28 miles every 4.5 years, it would take 320 years – or until the year 2330 – to deploy SBInet technology across the Southwest border.

The GAO’s latest findings reveal that 1) he number of problems in the program are outpacing those being fixed and 2) about 70 percent of SBInet testing procedures apparently were changed at the last minute to “pass the test” rather than qualify the system.

    Asked Chairman Chris Carney, D-Pa., “Can we get a refund?”

    DHS Halts Border Security Boondoggle

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has ordered an immediate freeze on all funding of an expensive “virtual fence” of tower-mounted cameras and sensors along the U.S.-Mexico border called SBInet.

    The program has been “plagued” with cost overruns and missed deadlines, DHS Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano said today in a statement.

    The delays mean that Border Patrol agents have had to use existing cameras that don’t work well. Thanks mostly to the Senate ,the Border Patrol also has no leader, but that’s another story. 

    As of July, the government had given $1.1 billion to SBInet contractor Boeing Co. according to this GAO report.

    A 2006 DHS strategic plan estimated that installing the system along the Southwest border would cost $7.6 billion through fiscal 2011.

    SBInet is really another name for C3I or C4I (command, control, computers, communications, and intelligence) — an Orwellian integrated surveillance system that can cover a huge area.

    Greece hired a consortium led by SAIC to install a similar system for the 2004 Olympic games, but the system was delivered in time for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

    The DHS says it is re-allocating $50 million of $100 million in Recovery Act funding slated for SBInet to off-the-shelf cameras, light detectors, radios, cameras, laptops.

    It’s unclear to me what prolonging a wasteful program has to do with economic recovery. Update: If you take a look at Recovery.gov, you’ll find one of the reasons — I’m not making this up — is helping the steel industry by building all those towers.

    The Boeing SBInet core team includes

    • Centech — Arlington, Va.
    • DRS Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group — Palm Bay, Fla.
    • Kollsman Inc. (an Elbit Systems of America company) — Merrimack, N.H.
    • L-3 Government Services Inc. — Washington, D.C.
    • L-3 Communication Systems West — Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Lucent Technologies — Murray Hill, N.J.
    • Perot Systems — Plano, Texas
    • Unisys Global Public Sector — Reston, Va.
    • USIS — Washington, D.C.

    Washington Post Corrects Awlaki Story

    The Washington Post has corrected its blockbuster Jan. 27 front-page story that reported that three U.S. citizens, including former San Diego imam Anwar Awlaki, were on the CIA’s “kill or capture” list.

    Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who lived in San Diego in the 1990s and attended graduate school, is now living in a remote area in Yemen.

    U.S. authorities believe he served as a “spiritual advisor” to some of the 9/11 hijackers and he corresponded with Maj. Nidal Hasan, the alleged Fort Hood shooter. There are also reports, which Awlaki has denied, that he directed the attempted Christmas Day jetliner bombing.

    Even though he’s apparently not on a CIA list, Awlaki may still be marked for death. The military’s Joint Special Operations Command also maintains a separate list of  high-value targets (HVTs) targeted for kill or capture. The Post is sticking by its original reporting that  “several” Americans are on it.

    Still it’s an embarrassing correction. ProPublica’s Stephen Engleberg sympathizes with the Post reporter, Dana Priest, and compares covering the intelligence community like fumbling around in a dark room.

    He also notes some of the discrepancies that I pointed out earlier between Priest’s story and a Jan. 31 follow by the LA Times’ Greg Miller.

    I still have doubts about this whole assassination story. As a U.S. citizen, Awlaki is protected under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Like it or not, even traitors have rights in our country.