Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Friday, September 07, 2007

  Outsourcing oversight in Iraq?

According to Al Kamen, something distinctly odd is afoot with Stuart Bowen's office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The Army is in the process of outsourcing some and perhaps all the work of doing the investigations that Bowen oversees.

[The IG's quarterly reports] also must be quite taxing to produce, since it appears Bowen is outsourcing the effort. The Army Contracting Agency announced the other day that it is asking for private companies -- small businesses only -- "to procure all personnel, equipment, tools, materials, supervision, and other items and non-personal services necessary to perform data collection, analysis, design, formation and other project management support to ensure publication of the quarterly report."

Well, at least he's not outsourcing himself.

I have found nothing whatever about this initiative at the website of the Army Contracting Agency...not surprising, since it is pretty darned uncommunicative. Kamen is the only one who has the story; perhaps an insider contacted him with the news.

What the heck is going on? Do any of our readers know?

On the face of it, outsourcing such critical and politically embarrassing investigations smells fishy, particularly given the heightened tensions over the Iraq debacle inside Washington.

On the other hand, Bowen has been accused in the past of being sloppy and supercilious in overseeing the work, and of indulging in unnecessarily expensive bells & whistles in the production of these quarterly reports. Those allegations came mainly from several former employees. So it could be that the outsourcing of his staff of investigators (if that is what Kamen's information points toward) was a response to that controversy or grew out of the investigation into it by the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency.

I've argued in the past that the PCIE investigation of Bowen looked suspiciously like retribution from the Bush administration. The quarterly reports from Bowen's office have been much more damning of the situation in Iraq than nearly all other government publications.

It's also just possible, given the Bush administration's mania for privatizing as much of the federal workforce as possible, that Bowen's office is getting carved up in the name of "efficiency".

crossposted from

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