March 4th, 2010
05:05 PM ET

Senator wants Justice review on contract for work in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON  - The chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee is asking for a Justice Department review of whether two companies misled the Defense Department to get a contract for work in Afghanistan. 

The request by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, in the form of a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, comes after Levin's committee investigated a Xe Services subsidiary called Paravant. Xe is the new name for Blackwater, a war-time contractor that has been involved in high-profile incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

In the course of the investigation and at a hearing last month, the committee was told that Raytheon, a top defense contractor, asked Blackwater to create a new company, called Paravant, in order to bid for a training contract. 

Raytheon intended to subcontract the training job to Blackwater. 

Creating the new company, a Paravant executive told the committee, was done so that the company "didn't have any Blackwater on it." 

At the hearing, a Xe executive was asked about Raytheon's request. 

"They did not want to name Blackwater, as I understood it," said Xe Vice President Fred Roitz. When pressed Roitz was unable to provide a name of who at Raytheon made the demand. He promised to follow up but has yet to provide that information to the committee, a spokesman for Levin said. 

Referring to Roitz's testimony, Raytheon spokesman John Kasle said Thursday, "We have not found any evidence to support the assertion."

Kasle added that regarding Levin's request for a Justice review, "We will fully cooperate with any Justice Department inquiry into this matter."

Blackwater, now Xe, has a troubled past in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It was banned from operating in Iraq by the government there after a 2007 shooting incident left Iraqi civilians dead and injured. That incident sparked a diplomatic incident between the U.S. and Iraq.

Levin also provided a copy of the pitch for business, in which Paravant presented itself in its proposal for the contract as a company with "over 2,000 personnel deployed overseas" with years of experience. 

"The deception is troubling," Levin wrote in his letter to Holder. "At the time, Paravant had no employees and had not performed a single contract." 

Levin also sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates requesting that the Pentagon review the investigation's findings as it considers another Xe subsidiary for an upcoming multi-million-dollar training job in Afghanistan. 

A subsidiary of Xe is eligible to win Department of Defense work worth tens of millions of dollars to train Afghan police, according to a Pentagon official. 

Five companies were qualified to bid on the training and training support contracts, including Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, ARINC and the U.S. Training Center. 

U.S. Training Center is a subsidiary company owned by Xe. 

Xe did not have a comment on the request by Levin.

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Katie Flanagan

    The Senator is blowing the whistle. This seems a little suspicous! I think someone forgot to pay kick back. Imagine that!!

    March 6, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. West Michigan Veteran

    Folks. There will always be a Blackwater of some other name as long as we continue to pay our own soldiers didly-squat for risking their lives daily in these filthy rat hole places around the world. The enemy we're fighting does not have to follow any rules, and are hell bent on establishing their own little dictatorship, based on their own butchered version of Islam. As usual, this is about who gets the spoils. However, there are some who recognize that these anti-infidels are not just interested in Afghanistan, Somalia, etc. They want it all... the whole world (or as much as they can get) ruled by their contortion of Islam... and yes, there are many Christian holy-rollers (and many others, too) who will not let this happen.

    Senator Levin is a good man, but he competes for a lot of his votes from West Michigan which is a Republican Christian stronghold. Blackwater was co-founded by Eric Prince, who's family is both rich and powerful. Eric's sister Betsy is married to Dick DeVos who's family co-own Amway, Quixtar, Nutrilite, the Orlando Magic, Peter Island and a hell of a lot more. Yes, they are first tier holy-rollers. What I'm trying to point out is that Senator Levin is playing politics by using his resources to go after Blackwater. Why? Because there is something in it for him, and his party. He knows that doing this can at the least cause his party's Republican opponents mucho grief over the long term.

    I'm not saying who is right or wrong here, but I do say that this type of politics is exactly the reason why our system of government is in such a mess right now. Both sides do it. They want the control and don't seem to care what they are doing to this country and the next generation. What they should be doing is working together for America instead of continuously dissing the other side. We need to shake loose the grip of big money lobbyists on our government, otherwise senators and congressmen, like Senator Carl Levin, will repeatedly have their puppet strings pulled by their own party to insure that the other side doesn't get the upper hand. Shame on both parties, Levin, Prince, and DeVos. We need to amend our Constitution. We need a third party or more. We need to put severe clamps on lobbying (i.e. legalized bribery). Instead of Iraq and Afghanistan, We The People need to take back our America.

    I'm an American veteran... and a former high school classmate of Dick DeVos.

    March 6, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. A. Smith, Oregon

    Is anyone surprised that KBR-Haliburton had their employees allegedly sign paperwork stating they were working out of KBR-Haliburton's tiny shell corporation in Belize to avoid paying the US Govt. their share of Federal Taxes including Social Security and Medicare-Medicaid taxes.
    Yep those same Dick Cheney wing-nuts that are in charge of the Burn-Pits in US Bases in both Afghanistan and Iraq that allegedly have sickened many US soldiers pay no taxes and are exempt from laws and lawsuits. Freedom Mission Accomplished!

    March 4, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. AH

    For all of the self-rightous chest thumping by these characters that hate Xe...they should look behind the scenes at the contracts being awarded to the friends of the Democrats. PLUS – they should look at the reality of the situation... These contractors are doing a very hard job – for less cost than the military. This is in part due to the fact that our military was downsized – when you say?? Oh yes..lets look back at – my goodness the older Democratic regimes. Are there issues that could be corrected within Xe? Undoubtedly so. But Senator Levin (and several other Democrats) just love to continue to beat the same horse as loudly as possible.

    Hey – how about asking how much the Clinton Foundation has taken in for opposed to what's been used so far? Might be an interesting comparison there.

    Too many other responses – intoo short of a space.

    March 4, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tc

    Was this contract bid during the Bush-Cheney administration? No! You libs are pitiful. Wake up and get your heads out of the sand! This is another example of government corruption and cronyism. And you want this government to handle your health care? What makes you think that will be any different? More government is NOT the answer.

    March 4, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BR

    They never knew for sure if they were getting the contract, then when it was confirmed, they hired the first 50 to put feet on ground. Then sent more when they were available. Seen the craziness at that time. And the men they sent. They didnt even have them go thru CRC training. That was how greedy the management was. I worked my tail off for them. I seen some bad and I seen the owner wise up and get rid of the bad. My opinion too late.
    Not all Xe contractors are bad. Just had bad management. They need to be rid of a few more and it could be a great company like it was years ago. They had a true heart felt mission and lost it with greed.

    I know many of the people there working for Xe and they are good people. Doing an AWESOME job. They care about what they are doing. They do good work. You cannot tell me that some of the other contracting companies or military havent done bad things. Because of past ignorance Xe is tarnished. I agree hiding behind a name change really STUPID. They will always be know as Blackwater no matter what. They are not murdering innocent people. There are bad people everywhere, in every company. They are trying to make a difference. Help this country learn how to protect their own. So that everyone can come home. God Bless our Military & the US contractors that are trying to make a difference.

    March 4, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. George Washington

    A American company screwing over the tax payers, who would have thought it? Are we done being a$$ raped by the goverment and their corperate masters yet?

    Keep it green

    March 4, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Glen

    Interesting. The Gov't says it is saving money by reducing the military, then hires contractor's to do the job the uniformed military should be doing. For what, they are saving money. Wait aren't these contracts paid MILLIONS of dollars. Where is the cost saving. Where is the control. Why not create jobs and enlarge the military so we don't need contractors which no one controls.

    March 4, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. beersonwall

    We have got to get out of Afghanistan. Our economy is imploding with 25% real unemployment and the USA is out of money. Take the trillions we spend telling other countries what to do and spend it on tax breaks for companies to bring on new hires. I work for the website Storyburn where the mess that lands on our doorstep is crazy bad. We have the most read home foreclosure and job hunting stories on the web. Check out our new Rant forum

    March 4, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JR

    Ahhh, Blackwater again, the corrupt, murdering, dishonest company that is the legacy of the Bush administration and apparently a stone around America's neck forever.

    March 4, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. C

    "Five companies were qualified to bid on the training and training support contracts, including Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, ARINC and the U.S. Training Center."

    It's funny how the "conservatives" are really behind companies like Raytheon or Blackwater/Xe/whatever it's called this week. They scream bloody murder about money flying out the door, but these are the companies that are getting the corporate welfare/socialism, and those companies have no qualms with fleecing the US taxpayer in the process. I've read many places that these guys are Christian holy-rollers.

    So we get Christians killing others and conservatives in big business fleecing taxpayers.
    Double-standard. It won't end until we see thing as they are.

    March 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mark

    All contracts with Blackwater, Xe or whatever company name they want to go by this month should be cancelled. They are corrupt and used fraud to obtain contracts and never did a good job.

    March 4, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. A. Smith, Oregon

    'The Most Dangerous Man in America" film of the Washington insider that published top secret Pentagon Papers showing how President Nixon deliberately mislead the American people over the handling and events in Vietnam has come out and termed 'Vietistan" that Afghanistan is following the exact same road of deliberate lies, tactics and ultimately the same outcome as that of Vietnam.

    March 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Larry

    Our govt. can track down the next born of a cow with mad cow disease yet, stuff like this happens. Who's minding the store?

    March 4, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jon

    Corruption by contractors? No really? Why is it that there are only a handful of these contractors bidding? Shouldn't the Afgans pay for their own training? Haliburton, aka KBR, blackwater aka Xe aka etc.... have made a nice profit at the cost of war. Sadly this war too shall end then what will they all do? I am betting change their name again!

    March 4, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  16. A. Smith, Oregon

    More smoke and mirrors, the CIA Xe contractors are above the laws in America, Afghanistan and in Iraq. They cannot be held liable nor be constrained by law suits for wrongful deaths, pain and suffering they cause.

    KBR-Haliburton (Dick Cheney's old crew) is also immune from law suits for wrongful deaths, pain and suffering of medical diseases resulting from ten's of thousands of US Military soldiers being constantly exposed to toxic gases and fumes from the Burn-Pits they built and are under contract for.

    US Senator Levin can mouth whatever frustrations he and his constituents want, it won't result in any real curtailment of the CIA contractors, nor on any legal obligations they cannot be held liable for.

    March 4, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |