Monday, February 25, 2008

Outsourced DHS contracts are just plan theft

First there was Iraq, then aid to Katrina reconstruction contractors (Note: I did not say residents, or former residents, of New Orleans because they did not received much aid from DHS) and now we have the border fence along our southern border.

This article in the Texas Observer is primarily about the rather selective methods that the contractors working out of the SBInet office of the DHS are using to determine where to put the fence. It seems the ideal locations for the fence have more to do with the net worth, and political connections, of the land owner than any other possible rationale.

But the article also states that all of the money allocated to build the fence, is being handled by a DHS office called SBInet. SBInet is described in the article as
a consortium of private contractors led by Boeing Co
which includes the following private contractors
DRS Technologies Inc., Kollsman Inc., L-3 Communications Inc., Perot Systems Corp., and a unit of Unisys Corp.
That sure is a funny way to described a government office, a consortium of private contractors.

Henry Waxman, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has this to say about the SBInet project.
"As of December, the Department of Homeland Security had hired a staff of 98 to oversee the new SBInet contract. This may seem like progress until you ask who these overseers are. More than half are private contractors. Some of these private contractors even work for companies that are business partners of Boeing, the company they are supposed to be overseeing. And from what we are now learning from the department, this may be just the tip of the iceberg."
"virtually every detail is being outsourced from the government to private contractors. The government is relying on private contractors to design the programs, build them, and even conduct oversight over them.”
This is government the Republican way. ( I should note that many Congressional Democrats are also firmly in support of the privatization of our Government) It provides very little in the way of services to it's citizens, protects the interests of the rich, and is a spigot that can be turned on to let our treasury be drained into the hands of campaign contributors.

If you question whether these programs don't deliver the services they are set up to provide. This project is being funded by the Secure Fence Act which passed in 2006. The bill
mandated that 700 miles of double-fencing be built along the southern border from California to Texas.

On August 10, 2007, Chertoff announced his agency would scale back the initial 700 miles of fencing to 370 miles, to be built in segments across the southern border. Chertoff cited budget shortages and technological difficulties as justifications for not complying with the bill.

Now that is efficient. Chertoff is not talking about spending less money. DHS will use all of the money appropriated by the bill they will just deliver half the product. If you define efficiency as siphoning off public money to private individuals and corporations with the least amount of effort, than DHS is the most efficient branch of government we have. Congrats to Chertoff on his perfect implementation of the Bush Administrations goals.

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