Last week it was announced that the crucial $581 million overhaul of the FBI’s computer system hit a major snag: it doesn’t work. Called “Virtual Case File,” the software was intended to aid in coordinating the agency’s antiterrorism measures, but “the bureau is so convinced that [it] will not work” that it has already started preparing to reopen the bidding process for new contractors to design new software. The software was designed by the Science Applications International Corp (SAIC), which will pocket a cool $100 million, even thought their software was a bust. Here’s a little more about this company, which in 2003 pulled in $5.4 billion in government revenue:
The RecordEven though they had no broadcasting experience, SAIC received an $82 million no-bid contract to run the first post-Saddam TV network in Iraq. It was an unmitigated disaster. Requests for basic news gear were denied. An audit found SAIC was paid for work it did not complete. They had no programs and relied on a mix of announcements from the U.S. military and rehashed U.S. newscasts — like coverage of the Laci Peterson coverage.
Although SAIC paid their executives in Iraq $273 an hour and security officers up to $1000 a day, they paid the Iraqis they hired as news anchors as little as $60 a month. When the Iraqis pointed out that wasn’t even enough to pay for decent clothes to wear on air, SAIC agreed to pay to dress them…but only from the waist up.
In March 2004, a Pentagon audit found SAIC improperly charged the government to fly a Hummer and pickup truck to Iraq on a private jet for the personal use of an SAIC employee. In all, they recommended that the company repay the government $634,834 for unsubstantiated costs.
SAIC was also awarded the contract to train Iraqi soldiers and police officers.
The Players:Adm. William Owens, former SAIC president and CEO, became an influential member of Sec. Rumsfeld’s Defense Policy Board
Christopher Henry, former senior vice president at SAIC, became a key aide to Douglas Feith, who was in charge of supervising contract work done by SAIC in Iraq.
Gen. Wayne Downing, SAIC board member, became the chief counterterrorism expert at the National Security Council. Also a lobbyist for disgraced Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, he was a vocal advocate for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Follow the Money:In the last election cycle, SAIC’s PAC gave $45,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee alone.