Wednesday, October 10, 2007

America Swindled on Own Embassy Building

From the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:
Documents Show Extensive Flaws in Iraq Embassy Construction

Documents obtained by the Oversight Committee depict widespread defects in fire detection systems, fire service mains, fire sprinklers, fire-proof construction materials, and electrical wiring throughout the Embassy complex. Other documents implicate the Managing Partner of First Kuwaiti, the prime contractor, in an illegal kickback scheme to obtain subcontracts under the Army’s multi-billion logistical support contract.
Huh? Surely they're not talking about the U.S. Embassy in Iraq? From the official letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (excuse any typos - millions of dollars apparently cannot purchase the U.S. a decent character recognition software package either:
Dear Madam Secretary:
I am writing to raise new concerns about the State Department's $600 million U.S. Embassy in Iraq. On July 26,2007, the Committee held a hearing to review reports of numerous problems with the Embassy construction project. In particular, the Committee asked about allegations of substandard work by the prime contractor, First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Company, and whether problems with the fire protection systems, electrical systems, and power plant would delay the opening of the Embassy beyond its September 2007 completion
date and increase the costs to the taxpayer above the $592 million budget.

At the hearing, Maj. Gen. Charles Williams (Ret.), the Director of Overseas Building Operations (OBO) at the State Department, dismissed all of these concerns, stating emphatically:
I am pleased to report, Mr. Chairman, that the project is on schedule and on budget. We
are slated to complete the project in September of this year and personnel can begin to move into offices and residences shortly thereafter. As to project quality, OBO is proud of its employees and contractors work on this project. 'We have received numerous accolades as to the extremely high quality of construction. It is among the best that OBO has managed.
This weekend, however, it was disclosed that the Embassy construction project has gone $144 million over budget and the State Department has delayed its opening indefinitely.
We can't get a building - our main, keystone building - put together without a deadbeat contractor or a valid and accurate report on how that construction is going, but overextended troops without all the proper equipment and no end in sight are supposed to quell a 1400 year division in Islam, foster democracy, make our puppet government give a shit, and stop insurgents who continue to multiply and would gladly die specifically for a shot at the American troops, all without understanding their language(s) or culture(s).

When does the incompetence of the U.S. Government start shaking the shit out of people? Why is it taking this long?

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