A Navy fraud investigation is becoming one the largest scandals for the armed service in recent years, and the investigation is spilling over into 2014.
Leonard Glenn Francis, the CEO for Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, was arrested in September for allegedly bribing officials with cash, trips, and other items in exchange for ship information.
So far, six Navy officials have been tied to the incident with two arrested.
“I certainly don’t think we’ve seen the end of it,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said earlier this month, discussing the case publicly for the first time during a press conference. “I think it’s fair to say that there will be more disclosures coming in.”
The secretary declined to say if he believes those disclosures will result in the arrest of more Navy officials.
The investigation — and resulting media focus — has put how the Navy handles its contracting unwillingly under the spotlight, but Mabus said he would “rather get bad headlines than let bad people get away.”
John Bertrand Beliveau Jr., a supervisory special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, also plead guilty earlier this month to participating in the alleged fraud.
And the Justice Department noted in a press release that the investigation is still ongoing to determine the full scope of the alleged attempt to defraud the Navy. Mabus couldn’t comment on the amount of money that has been defrauded. But in court documents, U.S. attorneys characterize it as a “multi-national, multi-year, multi-million dollar fraud on the United States Navy.”
Mabus touted the Navy’s hand in launching the investigation. Though that started in 2010, GDMA continued to hold naval contracts well into this year. Mabus explained that suspending a contract with GDMA before they were ready to move forward with charges would have signaled that something was wrong and “GDMA would have gotten the contract back.”
“Without the Navy and Navy’s actions, there would almost certainly be no story today,” Mabus said.
While the investigation continues, the allegations of fraud already have the Navy rethinking how it handles some of its contracts. Those actions include increasing the number of items it can set a certain price for while at foreign ports, centralizing and standardizing how top commanders deal with supplies overseas, and putting together a “red team of experts” who are to review and possibly recommend changes to how the Navy handles contracting. An audit of husbanding and port services contracts is expected in June.
Mabus said since 2009 the Navy has suspended more than 250 contractors and blocked approximately 400 more from holding naval contracts. Elliott Branch, the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Acquisition and Procurement, said that represents a fraction of the tens of thousands of contractors the Navy deals with.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”