Annals of Homeland Security: Crony Capitalism, Nuclear Terror and the “Advanced Spectroscopic Portal”

When the Department of Homeland Security announced in 2006 that it awarded contracts totaling some $1.2 billion over five years to Raytheon, Thermo Electron and Canberra Industries for “Advanced Spectroscopic Portal” (ASP) radiation monitors, it should have been reality-check time.

But Congress being what it is, it wasn’t, and now massive cost overruns plague the project with little to show in way of “deterrence.” As Global Security Newswire reported last May,

Raytheon and Thermo Electron are both headquartered in Waltham, Mass., in the district represented by Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee. Canberra Industries is headquartered in Meriden, Conn., in Lieberman’s state. (Chris Strohm, “US Lawmakers Ask for Audit of Bush Administration Plans to Buy Radiation Detectors,” Global Security Newswire, May 16, 2007)

Can you say congressional grifters well-attuned to the “needs” of their “constituents”–multinational defense firms “keeping America safe”–for their bottom lines? Let’s take a peek at these DHS “winners.”

According to Washington Technology, Raytheon Co. “earned” $5,170,829,645 in outsourced government contracts and was No. 4 on their “Top 100″ list. How did they do it? If we’re to believe Washington Technology, by “sticking close to their customers, developing contingency plans and looking for ways to make their customers’ lives easier.”

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