LONDON: It’s now clear, Sean McFate says in his new book, “The Modern Mercenary”, that when nation states spent nearly 400 years officially discouraging soldiers of fortune, it was the exception rather than the rule.
There were mercenaries on the battlefields of Europe long before the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, when it was agreed that military force was the preserve of governments.
And now, says McFate, a former soldier who teaches at Georgetown University in Washington, the mercenaries are back, in strength, and are not going away. Continue reading →
In 2009, an American aid worker seeking to provide internet service for Cubans was thrown in jail for more than five years. Now, as relations with Cuba finally thaw, the imprisonment of Alan Gross remains a prime example of how promoting American values in countries that don’t want them is a policy that is as well-intentioned as it is poorly executed.
Under a plan that CIA Director John O. Brennan, pictured in 2014, announced in March, the agency is breaking down the major directorates of espionage and analysis that have dominated the CIA’s bureaucratic structure for decades. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)
The CIA has paid more than $10 million to a management consulting firm advising senior U.S. intelligence officials on a broad reorganization that agency Director John O. Brennan began earlier this year, current and former U.S. officials said.
The agency also is requiring some of its departments to surrender portions of their annual budgets in an effort to collect enough money to cover other costs associated with the restructuring, officials said.
The payments to the firm, McKinsey & Co., have been viewed with skepticism by some at CIA headquarters and on Capitol Hill at a time when the agency is confronting significant new security threats as well as pressure to trim costs.
(JTA) — Alan Gross, the Jewish-American government contractor who was jailed in Cuba for five years as a spy, was never debriefed after his release from prison and return to the United States, according to a new report. Continue reading →
Officials at the Office of Personnel Management claim that their system was breached using credentials that were stolen from KeyPoint Government Solutions, a government contractor that provides background checks.
The hack, which exposed personal information for potentionally tens of millions of Americans, has drawn scrutiny to KeyPoint’s security practices, with one senior lawmaker even calling for OPM to cease use of outside contractors.
But for KeyPoint’s parent company, Veritas Capital, a private equity firm based in New York City, the hack is only the latest incident in a long history of controversial government contracting. Continue reading →
After years of working as a bodyguard, MMA instructor, firearms guru, and security contractor, Suleiman Yousef says he’s prepared to fight Islamic extremists.
Photo by Ricardo Cornejo
The .223 slugs racing from the barrel of Suleiman Yousef’s M4 rip over the mud before sinking through paper targets. A wall of raised earth backstops the gunfire.
Five other men in fatigues pop off more rifle rounds. Then, following Yousef’s lead, one by one they drop their M4s, twist around, and trot through standing water like running backs slow-stepping through juke patterns. Each quick-draws a handgun and begins squeezing off 9mm rounds.
It’s a Thursday afternoon, mid-May, the sky pinking with sundown out here in the Redlands, where Miami-Dade County is swallowed whole by the Everglades. A blond and ready-to-pop pregnant Russian television anchor watches the training — an informal meetup of law enforcement guys and private security contractors who gather weekly for target practice on this private property. The Russian crows commands at her short cameraman, urging him closer to where the semiautomatic lead chews the targets. He looks back, eyes saying Fuck, no! behind his glasses.
When the fire dies off, the shooters dig plugs from their ears and tilt their attention at Yousef, who fiddles with his weapon. Unlike the other shooters here, Yousef very soon could find himself ducking real bullets.
He has the full black beard of an imam but the body ink of a headbanger. “Self” is stamped below his right knuckles; “Made,” on the left. Each hand is tattooed with images of brass knuckles and hand grenades. The word “Honor,” in gothic script, crawls along his left forearm. Ringing his neck below the Adam’s apple is a dotted line, like perforation marks. “Cut Here,” says the tattoo, which could easily be interpreted as a taunt to Muslim extremists. Soon, Yousef intends to leave the United States to join ground forces battling the terrorist group ISIS. Continue reading →
Today, SIGAR published an inquiry into USAID’s Partnership Contracts for Health (PCH) program in Afghanistan.
The letter notes:
— An analysis of USAID data and geospatial imagery raises questions as to whether USAID has accurate location information for nearly 510, or about 80 percent, of the 641 health care facilities funded by the PCH program. For example: Continue reading →
Dimitry Jean-Noel of Worcester was sentenced to a year in federal prison Thursday for stealing $157,000 from the U.S. government while working as a contractor in Afghanistan in 2008. Submitted Photo
By Brad Petrishen
Telegram & Gazette Staff
Posted Jun. 18, 2015 at 7:41 PM
WORCESTER – A Worcester man and former Afghanistan contractor who admitted to stealing more than $150,000 from the U.S. government by creating a fake uniform manufacturing company was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison Thursday.
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