Thursday, October 25, 2007

The State Department needs an "Office of Lessons Learned"

Determined as they are to make the worst possible choices, under the leadership of the most incompetent and inept Secretary of State in the history of the Republic, First Kuwaiti has been awarded additional contracts for construction of embassy and consulate facilities.

Apparently your mother was wrong and crime does pay.

The company that used counterfeit, sub-standard building materials, assembled by abducted third-world workers who are essentially slave labor, has benefited further.

Late last month, First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Co. was part of a team that won a $122 million State Department contract to build a U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, according to contract documents.

That's one of at least three State Department jobs, in addition to the Baghdad project, that First Kuwaiti won in association with a U.S. firm, Grunley Walsh LLC of Rockville, Md.

Since 2006, by operating as a subcontractor to Grunley Walsh, First Kuwaiti has won contracts for work on a new U.S. Embassy in Libreville, Gabon; on a consulate in Surabaya, Indonesia; and on the Jeddah project.

Such partnerships are increasingly common as foreign companies try to win shares of embassy construction contracts that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year under the State Department's aggressive building program. Under a 1986 law, only U.S. firms can bid on embassy construction.

But industry analysts said that First Kuwaiti appears to be the financial muscle behind the partnership with Grunley Walsh. Lebanese businessman Wadih al Absi founded the company in 1996. News reports and Middle East experts say that Absi is a supporter of Lebanese Christian politician Michel Aoun, an ally of Syria and the Iranian-backed Islamic militant group Hezbollah. [emphasis added]

Henry Waxman is already investigating the Inspector General for State, who has facilitated malfeasance at the highest level. Maybe he needs to be looking into the OBO division of State, too.