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GAO Upholds Protest of Blackwater’s Afghan Police Training Contract

According to The Washington Post, the Government Accountability Office has prevented the U.S. Army from handing a billion dollar contract to Xe Services – formerly Blackwater.

The deal in question was offered by the State Department to instruct Afghan police officers.

The GAO ruled that other companies, including DynCorp, the firm previously charged with instructing the force, raised valid concerns in protesting the award.  They claimed that Xe had won the deal while other firms had been excluded from the bidding process.

The GAO concurred, upholding the protest, meaning a rebid will occur.  Xe is welcomed to be included in the process.

The Army has expressed concern that a lengthy process could put the brakes on getting Afghan patrol officers on the streets in a timely manner.

“We recognize the Army’s position that it needs to swiftly award a contract for these services,” said Ralph O. White, an attorney with the GAO’s procurement oversight division in The Post.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), one of Xe’s staunchest critics, admits that the firm might be the best candidate for the job, even after the secondary bidding process.

“If this contract is re-bid and Blackwater is among the bidders, I hope that the Defense Department will take a close look at the company to determine if it is a suitable contracting partner for the U.S. government,” he said in The Post.

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