Reading Tips: New Reports from State/OIG

-03/31/10   Review of the Integrity and Fairness of the Foreign Service Selection Board Process (ISP-I-10-47) March 2010   [1626 Kb]

-03/31/10   The Bureau of Diplomatic Security Baghdad Embassy Security Force Performance Audit (MERO-A-10-05) March 2010   [962 Kb]

-03/31/10   The Broadcast Board of Governors’ Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. (ISP-IB-10-28) March 2010   [545 Kb]

Glenn Beck considers cost of building U.S. embassy in Iraq "foreign aid"

Yep, Glenn Beck is tired of foreign aid. And he wants you to know about it, too, especially that US Embassy in Iraq. Imagine the foreign aid we poured into building that one.  Har-har-har! Sorry if you’re not laughing, but its imperative that you understand — apparently US “foreign aid” went to building that American Embassy in Baghdad? Really? I wonder who thought of building that embassy?

Via Media Matters

Dear Linda Letter from Captain IXXXX HXXXX

Another version of those Nigerian scam letters.  This one purports to be a Captain in Iraq “on war against terrorism” who could not spell Baghdad correctly but wants to make you his/her beneficiary for war trophy money from Iraq that he/she is willing to transfer via “diplomatic courier service.” I wonder if the good “Captain” would want to help me buy a bridge to nowhere that I’m anxious to sell.  How could people fall for this crap?  Read on:

“Dear Linda,

I have received the information concerning your house,the price is $239,750.Am very confident dealing with you.I am willing and capable to buy the property,but i want to trust you with this confidential proposal.
Before i continue, let me introduce myself to you, I am Captain IXXXX HXXXX the commander of the Special N.A.T.O coalition force with the United Nation troops in Iraq,on war against terrorism.My country is germany.

I have now in my possession the sum of USD 6.5 million which was recovered from one of our raids on terrorists camps here in Iraq,because they keep most of their money at home for evil activities which they normally get through illegal deals on crude oil.

Based on the suffering we undergo here some of us do meet such luck. It happened that in our last raid last week we raided one of the terrorist strong base here in Iraq,though some of the men in my unit lost thier lives in the fierce attacks,and we recovered this huge sum of money.This box of money have been deposited with the RED CROSS OFFICE here in Baghdd informing them that  contacts are been made for its safe keeping and to make contacts for its proper use . As the team leader it is under my power to approve whoever comes forth for this money.

So i need someone i can deal with on trust and that is why i contacted you. so If you accept, I will put you forward as the beneficiary/owner of the funds and then move the money to you in Europe first. As  a military personnel i cannot  parade such an amount or carry it to my country so i need to present someone as the beneficiary.I just need your acceptance and all is done.I have a 100% authentic means of transferring the money through diplomatic courier service to you in Europe where  arrangements will be made to proceed to your country America.

Once i confirm your interest to my proposal.and your positive reply i will proceed to register your name as the beneficiary.

If you are interested, then let me know so i can proceed to register the consignment in your name as time is very important to me. I am doing this on trust, you should understand that as a trained military expert I will always be carefully in my dealings so everything is intact. This money is my life and i am willing to give you 30% of the total sum when the money is delivered to you. I wait for your response so we can proceed immediately. In less than 7days the money should be in your safe custody.

The only telephone access we have is radio message which is for our general use and is being monitored,therefore all communication will be via email till we finish our assignment here and fly straight to your country to meet you. Thank God that the new President Elect, Barrack Obama whose keen interest is to call us back home soon.”







Quickie: US Sues KBR for Alleged Iraq Private Security Contract Violations

KBR, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

This one from the DOJ presser: 

WASHINGTON—The United States has filed a lawsuit against Kellogg Brown & Root Services (KBR) alleging that the defense contractor violated the False Claims Act, the Justice Department announced today. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, alleges that KBR knowingly included impermissible costs for private armed security in billings to the Army under the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) III contract. The LOGCAP III contract provides for civilian contractor logistical support, such as food services, transportation, laundry, and mail, for military operations in Iraq.

The government’s lawsuit alleges that some 33 KBR subcontractors, as well as the company itself, used private armed security at various times during the 2003-2006 time period. KBR allegedly violated the LOGCAP III contract by failing to obtain Army authorization for arming subcontractors and by allowing the use of private security contractors who were not registered with the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior. The subcontractors using private security are alleged to have also violated subcontract terms requiring travel only in military convoys. The government’s lawsuit further alleges that at the time, KBR managers considered the use of private security unacceptable and were concerned that the Army would disallow any costs for such services. KBR nonetheless charged the United States for the costs of the unauthorized services.

“Defense contractors cannot ignore their contractual obligations to the military and pass along improper charges to the United States,” said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. “We are committed to ensuring that the Department of Defense’s rules are enforced and that funds so vital to the war effort are not misused.”

This case is being brought as part of a National Procurement Fraud Initiative. In October 2006, the Deputy Attorney General announced the formation of a National Procurement Fraud Task Force designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention, and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity for national security and other government programs. The Procurement Fraud Task Force is chaired by the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division and includes the Civil Division, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the FBI, the U.S. Inspectors General community, and a number of other federal law enforcement agencies.

Along with the Justice Department’s Civil Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Army Criminal Investigation Division, and FBI participated in the investigation of this matter. This case, as well as others brought by members of the task force, demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to helping ensure the integrity of the government procurement process.

U.S. Sues Kellogg, Brown & Root for Alleged False Claims Act Violations Over Improper Costs for Private Security in Iraq. Read more from DOJ here.

SFRC Clears Various State Dept Nominees including Ambassador Ford for Syria

Various nominees for the State Department, Peace Corps, OPIC, IJC, and the BBG cleared the SFRC on Apr 13, 2010.  Reported by Mr. Kerry of the Committee on Foreign Relations without printed report. The nominations now go to the Senate for a full vote.


Bisa Williams, of New Jersey, a Career
Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class
of Counselor, to be Ambassador
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the
United States of America to the Republic of

Raul Yzaguirre, of Maryland, to be
Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of the United States of
America to the Dominican Republic.

Theodore Sedgwick, of Virginia, to be
Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of the United States of
America to the Slovak Republic.

Robert Stephen Ford, of Maryland, a Career
Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class
of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the
United States of America to the Syrian Arab


Carolyn Hessler Radelet, of the District of
Columbia, to be Deputy Director of the Peace
Corps, vice Josephine K. Olsen, resigned.


Elizabeth L. Littlefield, of the District of
Columbia, to be President of the Overseas
Private Investment Corporation, vice Robert
A. Mosbacher, resigned.


Lana Pollack, of Michigan, to be a
Commissioner on the part of the United
States on the International Joint
Commission, United States and Canada, vice
Allen I. Olson.


Victor H. Ashe, of Tennessee, to be a Member
of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for a
term expiring August 13, 2010, vice James K.
Glassman, resigned.

Walter Isaacson, of Louisiana, to be a Member
of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for a
term expiring August 13, 2012, vice Steven J.
Simmons, term expired.

Walter Isaacson, of Louisiana, to be Chairman
of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, vice
James K. Glassman, resigned.

Michael Lynton, of California, to be a Member
of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for a
term expiring August 13, 2012, vice Mark
McKinnon, term expired.

Susan McCue, of Virginia, to be a Member of
the Broadcasting Board of Governors for a
term expiring August 13, 2011, vice Joaquin
F. Blaya, term expired.

Dennis Mulhaupt, of California, to be a
Member of the Broadcasting Board of
Governors for a term expiring August 13,
2011, vice Blanquita Walsh Cullum, term

S. Enders Wimbush, of Virginia, to be a
Member of the Broadcasting Board of
Governors for a term expiring August 13,
2010, vice Norman J. Pattiz, term expired.

Isn’t Adoptee Returned to Russia a US Citizen?

I’m late on this — but ABC reporters Kari Pricher, Michael S. James and Sarah Netter had a long piece a few days ago on the Russian boy sent back to Moscow by his adopted American mother. (Average Little Boy’ or Menace? Flight Attendant Describes Adoptee Returned to Russia | April 10, 2010).

Part of the report says that the boy had a US passport:

“The family had paid a driver $200 to meet the boy at the airport and take him to the Ministry of Education, officials said. Once there, officials found his U.S. passport, adoption documentation and Hansen’s letter in his backpack.”

Another part of the report says that the boy had an “expired US visa:”

“Adopted six months ago, the boy was traveling on an expired U.S. visa. He was taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation. Video footage showed Artyem looking bewildered as he is taken from the police station to the hospital by Russian social service workers. “

The boy, Justin Artem Hansen, could not have been traveling with an expired US visa and a US passport at the same time. For one thing, US citizens cannot be issued US visas. If the boy was traveling on a Russian passport with expired US visa, that certainly is not a requirement for traveling back to Moscow, so why was that even relevant in this story?

The question that none of the reporters had asked is quite simple — isn’t this adoptee an American citizen?

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows certain foreign-born, biological and adopted children of American citizens to acquire American citizenship automatically. These children did not acquire American citizenship at birth, but they are granted citizenship when they enter the United States as lawful permanent residents (LPRs).

What Are the Requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000?

The child must meet the following requirements:

    * Have at least one American citizen parent by birth or naturalization;
    * Be under 18 years of age;
    * Live in the legal and physical custody of the American citizen parent; and
    * Be admitted as an immigrant for lawful permanent residence.

In addition, if the child is adopted, the adoption must be full and final.

Child would not have been issued a visa by the embassy without a final adoption decree.

Read more here.

The State Department’s Russia Country Information on Adoption is also here.

On a related note, US Ambassador to Moscow, John Beyrle has released a statement on Justin Artem Hansen:

“As parents, my wife and I were deeply shocked by the news of Justin Artem Hansen, and very angry that any family would act so callously toward a child that they had legally adopted.  We are now investigating the circumstances of the boy’s return to see if any crimes were committed.  We are also in close contact with the Russian government on all aspects of the case, and we know that he is being well cared for.  Right now, that is the main thing.

Of course, there are tens of thousands of adopted Russian children who are living happily and lovingly with their American families.  We often hear from some of them after cases of neglect like this are publicized — they ask us to remind people that these things are rare. But even one incident like this is too many, and we will get to the bottom of what went wrong.”

There is also a clip in YouTube with Ambassador Beryle in Russian (subtitled in English) and he has blogged about it here (one of the most popular items in his blog with 54 comments and counting; wish I could read Russian). So now — if the boy is an AmCit and is legally one of ours, who will be responsible for him? Even as a dual-national, the US Mission in Russia would still have an obligation to monitor his welfare and whereabouts.  Unless, he renounces his US citizenship, but since he is a minor …. oh, this could be quite a legal minefield…

As an aside — this is not the first time that a US citizen had been expatriated out of the United States, although under different circumstances.  But this may be one of the few cases involving a minor. For other forced expatriation, see this case of an American citizen sent off to Mexico by DHS, who ended up in Honduras-Nicaragua-Guatemala before he was reportedly returned to the US by US Embassy Guatemala. Only to be jailed again for reentering after deportation. By DHS. Despite his possession of a real US passport.  A quite horrifying story.