Saturday, May 01, 2004

More on money to be made in Iraq

Using a Native American-owned business loophole, a Pentagon official, John Shaw, tried to help his pals bag the cellular phone market in Iraq. Fortunately, the guy got caught and faces an investigation. Funny, the LA Times called this trick just a 'coincidence' but didn't the Carlyle group get its big break using a similar loophole. (Actually, I think it was a tax write-off thing but still...)
    A senior Defense Department official is under investigation by the Pentagon inspector general for allegations that he attempted to alter a contract proposal in Iraq to benefit a mobile phone consortium that includes friends and colleagues, according to documents obtained by The Times and sources with direct knowledge of the process.

    John A. Shaw, 64, the deputy undersecretary for international technology security, sought to transform a relatively minor police and fire communications proposal into a contract allowing the creation of an Iraq-wide commercial cellular network that could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue per year, the sources said.

    Shaw brought pressure on officials at the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad to change the contract language and grant the consortium a noncompetitive bid, according to the sources.

    The consortium, under the guidance of a firm owned by Alaskan natives, consisted of an Irish telecommunications entrepreneur, former officials in the first Bush administration and such leading telecommunications companies as Lucent and Qualcomm, according to sources and consortium members......By coincidence, Shaw had been approached earlier in the fall by a lobbyist on behalf of a company called Nana Pacific, a small business owned by Alaskan natives that was interested in doing business in Iraq. Alaska native-owned small businesses, as part of a special Small Business Administration program, can be awarded large government contracts without having to go through the usual competitive bidding process.
Speaking of coincidence, I wonder how much money the Carlyle guys are making off the Iraq? I haven't seen anything about them lately but the media really doesn't cover this area, I'm afraid.