In a recent quarterly report to Congress, Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko expressed deep concerns over the U.S. Army’s refusal to suspend its contracts with 43 companies suspected of supporting terrorist activities.
“I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue, attack and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract,” Sopko wrote in his report.
The SIGAR office had brought the 43 companies, most of them Afghani, to the Army’s attention and suggested that their contracts be brought under suspension or debarment. The information supplied by SIGAR allegedly pointed to connections between the companies and the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Haqqani network.
“The Army Suspension and Debarment Office appears to believe that suspension or debarment of these individuals and companies would be a violation of their due process rights if based on classified information or if based on findings by the Department of Commerce,” the report continued.
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The quarterly report to Congress did not explicitly name any of the 43 companies, but did state that more than $150 million was involved. Matthew Bourke, a spokesman for the U.S. Army, stated that the evidence submitted by SIGAR was insufficient to take action against the contractors.
“The Army Procurement Fraud Branch did receive and review the 43 recommendations late last year, but the report did not include enough supporting evidence to initiate suspention and debarment under Federal Acquisition Regulations,” Bourke said.