INL’s Af/Pak Air Wing Program

The State Department’s OIG has just released its report on INL’s Air Wing program in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Excerpt below: 

The Department of State’s (Department) Office of Aviation in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL/A) supports U.S. Gov­ernment counternarcotics missions with aviation expertise and resources. INL/A provides aircraft and operates Air Wing programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru. In 1998, INL/A entered into an aviation services contract with DynCorp International to support worldwide counternarcotics mis­sions. In November 2005, INL/A awarded a new performance-based contract to DynCorp for the continuation of aviation support services. The total value of the current contract (November 2005 to October 2009) with DynCorp is $1.07 billion for all countries. Since January 2005, the Afghanistan Air Wing program has received $356 million1, and Pakistan Air Wing operations have been funded at $32 million.
OIG noted weaknesses in INL/A’s contract and management oversight of the Air Wing program in Afghanistan. Three PSCs monitor mission operations by acting as senior aviation advisors. However, INL/A directs all contract deliverables and cost reports to be sent directly to its staff in the United States, without verifi cation by these PSCs, and OIG was unable to determine whether DynCorp’s deliverables are accurate or charged costs are proper. A COR from INL/A has never been to Afghanistan, and there are no plans to send a COR to the country.
In Pakistan, the Air Wing program, funded at $32 million to date, has been generally effective in providing critical air support for activities along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, including a variety of missions for the Pakistan Government. However, DynCorp has had problems meeting some of the contract terms, par­ticularly flying hour goals. The inability to meet the required aircraft readiness rate is directly related to low levels of maintenance personnel and, according to INL/A, is also affected by issues with staff from Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior. OIG was unable to determine whether the Pakistan Government is adhering to the terms of a letter of agreement regarding use of INL/A aircraft, and found that the govern­ment continues its reticence in providing information on flights. The PSC who is the senior aviation advisor for the Air Wing program in Pakistan, reports directly to the INL/A COR in the United States on all contractual issues. The COR has never been to Pakistan. This situation potentially weakens management and internal controls. OIG also learned that neither INL/A nor DynCorp knows who owns the informa­tion system, AWIS, or its contents, which are critical to operations in all six countries under the Air Wing contract.

Related Item:
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Air Wing Program in Afghanistan and Pakistan | Performance Audit | Report Number MERO-A-10-03, March 2010 | PDF

US ConGen Peshawar Attacked. Again

Peshawar Bling-Bling Bus (II)Image by zerega via Flickr

From the NYT: In the most direct attack on an American facility in Pakistan in years, militants mounted a multipronged assault against the United States Consulate in this northern city on Monday, using a truck bomb, machine guns and rocket launchers, Pakistani and American officials said.

At least five attackers, all suicide bombers, failed to breach the outer perimeter of the compound, according to a Pakistani intelligence official, but demolished part of an exterior wall with a large truck bomb that shook the city and sent huge plumes of brown dust and smoke into the sky. At least six Pakistanis were killed and 20 wounded. None of those killed or hurt were Americans.

The United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, confirmed the attack, and said it was coordinated, involving “a vehicle suicide bomb and terrorists who were attempting to enter building using grenades and weapons fire.”

Employees of the consulate were evacuated after the attack, according to a Pakistani official. Pakistani television reported that the consulate would be closed on Tuesday, but an embassy spokeswoman could not immediately confirm that.  

Read the whole thing here.

Meanwhile the US Embassy in Islamabad has released a statement on the attack, reprinted in full below:

Statement: Terrorist Attack On U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar | April 05, 2010

Islamabad – The United States condemns the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar today.  At least two Pakistani security guards employed by the Consulate General were killed in the attack and a number of others were seriously wounded.  The coordinated attack involved a vehicle suicide bomb and terrorists attempting to enter the building using grenades and weapons fire.  This attack, and the one earlier today in Lower Dir which killed and wounded many others, reflects the terrorists’ desperation as they are rejected by people throughout Pakistan.

Personnel at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar are at the forefront of U.S. support for the Government of Pakistan’s security and development agenda in the FATA and NWFP.  The U.S. is grateful for the support of Pakistan’s security forces in Peshawar, who responded quickly to this attack in support of the U.S. Consulate.

Secretary’s Remarks: Attack on U.S. Consulate in Peshawar
Mon, 05 Apr 2010 14:20:12 -0500

New Border War: Corruption of U.S. Officials by Drug Cartels

The Senate Ad Hoc Subcommittee on State, Local, and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration held a hearing on Thursday, March 11, 2010 on the New Border War: Corruption of US Officials by Drug Cartels.

The stated purpose of the hearing was to review the efforts by drug trade organizations (DTOs) to infiltrate and corrupt federal, state, and local law enforcement in order to improve their ability to counter U.S. border control measures. The hearing established the scope and nature of resulting corruption in federal, state and local governments, where the problem is most prevalent, and the strategy and methods being employed by DTOs. The hearing also provided an opportunity for witnesses to outline efforts to combat this problem, including new or proposed programs and policies relating to the prevention of DTO-related corruption in our nation’s law enforcement and political entities.

Representatives from the FBI, DHS’s OIG and Internal Affairs of Customs and Border Protection provided some interesting insights. To read the full testimonies, click on the hyperlinks “view testimony” below.  Quick excerpts:

Kevin L. Perkins [view testimony]
Assistant Director, Criminal Investigative Division
Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice

Each day, the federal government is charged with protecting over 7,000 miles of land bordering Canada and Mexico, 95,000 miles of U.S. shoreline and over 300 ports of entry across the United States. Each of these entry points has the potential for criminal and/or terrorist organizations to exploit corrupt officials willing to misuse their official positions for financial and/or personal gain.
One particular case highlights the potential national security implications of public corruption along our nation’s borders. In that case, an individual gained employment as a border inspector for the specific purpose of trafficking in drugs. Through our collaborative efforts and a year-long investigation, this former public official pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to import more than 1000 kilograms of marijuana into the United States and received more than $5 Million in bribe payments. This individual has since been sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Thomas Frost
[view testimony]
Assistant Inspector General for Investigations
Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Border related corruption is not limited to one DHS component, but, unfortunately, could involve employees and contractors from across DHS, from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) and others.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) received about 12,458 allegations of fraud and initiated over 1,085 investigations. Our investigations resulted in 313 arrests, 293 indictments, 281 convictions and 59 administrative actions. Additionally, we reported over $85.7 million in fines, restitutions and administrative cost savings and recoveries.
Specific to employee corruption on the border, since 2003, we have made 129 arrests of corrupt Customs and Border Protection Officers and Border Patrol Agents. In FY 2009, we opened 839 allegations involving DHS employees:                        
  • 576 CBP
  • 64 CIS 
  • 35 TSA
  • 164 ICE
Without discounting the excellent work of our own agents, much of our success is due to our collaboration with law enforcement partners.
James F. Tomsheck [view testimony]
Assistant Commissioner, Office of Internal Affairs
Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
CBP is the largest uniformed federal law enforcement agency in the country, with over 20,000 Border Patrol Agents operating between the ports of entry and more than 20,000 CBP officers stationed at air, land, and sea ports nationwide. These forces are supplemented with more than 1,100 Air and Marine agents and 2,300 agricultural specialists and other professionals. In FY 2009 alone, CBP processed more than 360 million pedestrians and passengers, 109 million conveyances, apprehended over 556,000 illegal aliens between our ports of entry, encountered over 224,000 inadmissible aliens at the ports of entry, and seized more than 5.2 million pounds of illegal drugs. Every day, CBP processes over one million travelers seeking to enter the United States by land, air or sea.
While the overwhelming majority of CBP agents and officers demonstrate the highest levels of integrity and perform their duties with honor and distinction every day, isolated acts of corruption do occur. Corruption by these individuals tarnishes the CBP badge and reputation, brings dishonor to our service and, most importantly, jeopardizes our border security.
There is a concerted effort on the part of transnational criminal organizations to infiltrate CBP through hiring initiatives and compromise our existing agents and officers. Since Oct. 1, 2004, 103 CBP law enforcement officers have been arrested or indicted on mission-critical corruption charges, including drug smuggling, alien smuggling, money laundering and conspiracy.

Officially In: Robert “Skipp” Orr to ADB

Asian Development BankImage via Wikipedia

On March 22, 2010, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Robert M. “Skipp” Orr, to be the United States Executive Director for Asian Development Bank, with the Rank of Ambassador.

Robert “Skipp” Orr is currently Chairman of the Board of the Panasonic Foundation, a member of the Board of Trustees of J.F. Obirin University and a member of the Board of the East-West Center Foundation. From January 2002 until March 2007 Orr was President of Boeing Japan. He held this position during the development of the most successfully selling airplane in history, the 787 Dreamliner.

Prior to joining Boeing, Orr was Vice President and Director of European Affairs for Motorola based in Brussels. And before that he held various senior level posts with Motorola in Japan culminating as Vice President of Government Relations. In that capacity he successfully led the negotiations that opened up the cellular phone market in Japan. He is also a former Vice President of the American Chamber of Commerce Japan. In addition to the corporate world, Orr also has spent many years in academia and the United States Government.

Between 1985 and 1993 he was a professor of Political Science at Temple University Japan with two years off to run the Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies and the Stanford Center for Technology and Innovation at the Stanford Japan Center in Kyoto. His book, The Emergence of Japan’s Foreign Aid Power, published by Columbia University Press won the 1991 Ohira Prize for best book on the Asia Pacific. Orr’s career began in 1976 when he served for two years as Legislative Assistant to Congressman Paul G. Rogers (D-FL) a 12 term member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Between 1978 and 1981 he served on the House Foreign Affairs Asia Subcommittee staff seconded from the Select Committee on Narcotics. In 1981 he was appointed as Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator of Asia in the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Department of State.

Orr holds a B.A. in History, cum laude, from Florida Atlantic University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Tokyo University. He speaks German and Japanese fluently and has intermediate French.