Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.
The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

How an ‘Off-the-Books Spy Operation’ Happens

This is Michael D. Furlong, a strategic planner for the Joint Information Operations Warfare Command based in Texas. According to a baroque story in today’s

Daniel James
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Mar 15, 2010

This is Michael D. Furlong, a strategic planner for the Joint Information Operations Warfare Command based in Texas. According to a baroque story in today’s New York Times, Furlong is under criminal investigation for diverting money from a program that hired contractors to gather information about Afghanistan and Pakistan and used it to run what the paper terms an “off the books spy operation” to kill militants in the region.

One of those contractors ran a website called AfPax Insider. (I should disclose that I’m an acquaintance of one of AfPax Insider’s founders, Robert Young Pelton, and a friend of mine has worked for a previous Pelton venture that inspired AfPax Insider; I wrote something for that venture, IraqSlogger, when I was in Iraq in 2007.) Pelton and his partner, the former CNN executive Eason Jordan, maintain that AfPax Insider’s work and the government money to finance it were misused by Furlong to run his intelligence shop. The CIA objects to Furlong’s potentially-illegal work; Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s strategic-communications chief, Rear Adm. Greg Smith, objected to the contract that funded AfPax Insider; it is unclear whether anyone died as a result of what Furlong pulled off.

The question is why Furlong felt he had sufficient cover from the contract to divert money. And while the answer is anything but clear — the Times says no one knows “who condoned and supervised his work,” if anyone – the lax attitude to oversight permeating all aspects of contracting in war zones is a powerful institutional incentive.

Blackwater guards can kill innocent civilians in war zones, steal U.S. military weaponry and still be eligible for future contracts because no contracting official will use the power he or she possesses to declare the company ineligible for bids. A branch of the State Department responsible for contracting out private security firms exhibited years’ worth of disinterest in oversight, resulting in the disappearance of about $1 billion in taxpayer money and the potential vulnerability to waste, fraud and abuse of up to $1.5 billion more. Ironically, when McChrystal’s command requested that the State Department branch lose the ability to control a contract for training Afghan police, the contract became ripe for Blackwater’s picking.

Furlong might not be forgiven by the criminal justice system, but he can certainly be forgiven for thinking he could get away with creating his own intelligence and assassination unit.

Daniel James | Daniel James is an author, keynote speaker, and entrepreneur who is a professional coach and gerontologist. Daniel holds a bachelor's degree from Georgia Tech, a master's degree from UCLA, a diploma in gerontology from the University of Boston, as well as a Professional Coaching Certification.

Related

Giffords shooting leads nation to introspection and political finger wagging

In the wake of the shooting in Arizona this weekend that critically injured Rep.

EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management

At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from

E-Verify Mandate Begins Today

The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm

EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules

The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.

EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann  has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.

EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’

In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work

EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria

The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards

EPA Analysis Says Climate Bill’s Cost for Households Would Be ‘Modest’

All the attention on the energy front today is going to the BP spill, but the Environmental Protection Agency quietly released its long-anticipated analysis of

EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards

Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com

Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.