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Friends Don't Let Friends Bid on Contracts
Foggo-Wilkes Investigation Widens to Include Bottled Water
02/06/2007 5:27 PM ET
The AP is reporting that federal prosecutors are preparing to indict disgraced contractor Brent Wilkes and Dusty Foggo, formerly the third-ranking official at the CIA, for fraud.

While chief logistics officer for the Middle East, Foggo allegedly steered a contract for bottled water to a company run by Wilkes' nephew and protege. Unbelievably, Foggo's lawyer once claimed that his client had had no knowledge of the connnection between that company, Archer Logistics, and Brent Wilkes, his best friend.

The scandal over the contract is not because it was exhorbitantly overpriced--it apparently wasn't--but because Foggo did not disclose his personal connections.

AP reports that CIA officers operating out of Kurdistan before the invasion had long been purchasing water from a local Iraqi bottler, and that other procurement officers had protested the no-bid contract because safe water was commercially available.

The awarding of big-ticket contracts on the basis of personal or political connections has become an unfortunate and disturbing status quo of doing business in Washington.

Beyond the issues of political corruption and unrestrained price-gouging, the biggest tragedy of the profusion of Iraq-contracting abuses is that the billions of dollars wasted on the friends and family of the well-connected could have been used to assist Iraqi businesses in restarting their own economy.


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