Wednesday :: May 12, 2004

Charles Abell, His Mail Order Degree, And Defense Contractor Oversight

by Steve

A new study by the General Accounting Office reveals that many officials in the federal bureaucracy are getting taxpayer-paid college degrees from unaccredited “diploma mills.” The problem goes back to the Clinton Administration, but has become somewhat noteworthy due to several Bush appointees in the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Energy. This resume building in an effort to get promotions poses great concerns for the qualifications of those getting sensitive jobs and the reasons why they get those jobs.

In one notable case, Charles Abell obtained a postgraduate degree from Columbus University. Mr. Abell is a campaign donor for George W. Bush and John Warner, which no doubt improved his “qualifications” for such a high-level appointment despite a mail-order postgraduate degree. And after a decorated military career Abell worked for Warner on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

And what exactly is Mr. Abell, with his interesting degree and campaign contributions responsible for inside the Pentagon?

At a Senate hearing in October, a Pentagon official said that staffing shortages, particularly of Arabic linguists, had forced the Department of Defense to hire contractors not only as interpreters but for interrogation work as well. ''We do use contractors as a means to hire linguists and interrogators,'' said Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "The Titan Corporation is among those."

Abell is the guy responsible for sending 200,000 contractors into service for the Pentagon without background checks being done.

A government investigation shows that even as the military has grown more reliant on private contractors to serve in highly sensitive positions in Iraq, the Pentagon has a backlog of nearly 200,000 people working for those and other contractors who are still awaiting security clearances.

In Congressional testimony last October, Charles S. Abell, principal deputy under secretary of defense for personnel, acknowledged that some contract employees were being sent to Iraq before they had received their security clearances because of "our rush to meet the requirements, the mere numerical requirements."

And who decided against having an experienced wartime lawyer onsite at Abu Ghraib to oversee the interrogations of Iraqi prisoners?

Your tax dollars at work. What would John Warner be doing now if this had happened under a Gore Administration and the chief Pentagon official responsible for the lack of contractor oversight had been a former staffer and campaign contributor for the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee?

Steve :: 12:35 PM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!