Intercepts

No Encore transparency; A flood of FOIAs; Wind farmer exposed; Unreeling the Glenn Ford Story

No Encore transparency
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act that President Bush signed last month is supposed to establish a database to track federal contracts, earmarks and grants, but don’t expect to find any task orders on the existing or future megabillion-dollar Defense Information Systems Agency enterprise information technology services contracts.

The Interceptor started poking around DISA’s Defense IT Contracting Organization Web site recently and discovered I could no longer click on any of the 3,000 or so Encore task orders to read the statement of work and description of deliverables.

I called Mike Thiem, DISA’s affable public affairs officer. He told me outsiders can no longer search the Encore task orders, including two recent ones for $244,000 to Northrop Grumman for “CIO outreach,” because DISA’s customers had decided that the information contained in the task orders is too sensitive for public perusal.

Now, I understand that there is a war or two going on and some information has to be kept under wraps. But what in the world could be sensitive about a task order for CIO outreach, except that maybe this is a high price for the creation of some nifty PowerPoint slides and some slick brochures?

Chief information officers can reach out to me any time they want via a really cheap e-mail message or phone call without passing $244,000 to Northrop Grumman.

A flood of FOIAs
Thiem told me I was free to submit a Freedom of Information Act request for any of the Encore task orders — an activity I am delighted to pursue because it will provide me with more than a lifetime of job security.

I intend to request all 3,000 Encore task orders and those executed on the follow-on Encore II contract. I figure that job will last me until I retire in 2012 — and probably the same amount of time for my successors — because I can bat out only about 10 FOIA requests a week, which makes my Encore task order obsession at least a six-year job at the rate of about 500 hundred a year.

Maybe they will have to issue an Encore task order to hire a contractor to deal with my FOIA requests.

Wind farmer exposed
Last week I asked for help from my readers to track the identity of the Congress member who inserted language in the first page of the 2007 DOD Appropriations bill to pay for an egregious piece o’ pork: $5 million for the installation of U.S.-manufactured wind turbines on an unnamed Air Force base and a study of such an installation.

Thanks to the diligence of more than one correspondent, I can now report that this bit of oink — which takes precedence over lesser matters in the appropriations bill, such as funding wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — comes to us courtesy of Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.).

Murtha, who has never shied away from the bacon he brings home, put out a press release Sept. 25 to announce that he had secured funding in the 2007 DOD bill for a company called Gamesa, located in Ebensburg, Pa., to study the feasibility of wind power on military bases.

The funds for Gamesa, a company with headquarters in Spain, and other projects in Murtha’s district “are vital to our national security and to our troops in the field,” Murtha said.

One wonders if this means that troops in the field will eventually use Gamesa wind turbines to literally blow away enemies in Iraq.

Unreeling the Glenn Ford Story
Movie stars who forgo big bucks for military service deserve credit, especially when they join the Marines. So I was pleased to read the various obituaries of actor Glenn Ford that praised his service in World War II and the Vietnam War, including the Washington Post write-up that noted that his service in the Marine Corps included the Battle of Midway.

Other obituaries said he served two tours in Vietnam, but that’s not true. Ford did make an appearance in the Hollywood version of the Battle of Midway as an actor portraying Rear Adm. Raymond Spruance. And according to his son Peter, Ford had some “limited service” in Vietnam. Peter Ford said in an e-mail message that reports of his father’s service have been “a series of misstatements and exaggerations.” He said his father served only stateside during World War II.

This proves that you should not believe everything you read on the Web or everything you read in the Post, whose reporters should not believe everything they read on the Web.

Semper fidelis, Glenn.

Intercept something? Send it to bbrewin@fcw.com.

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