Something of a bolt from the blue this. A US federal judge has halted the award of a major $475 million Iraq security contract under an 1893 anti-mercenary law. The contract was due to replace the one currently held by Tim Spicer’s Aegis, which is among the bidders.
Brian X. Scott, a 53-year-old Colorado man, filed the complaint in early April. He argues that the military’s use of private security contractors is "against America’s core values" and violates an 1893 law that prohibits the government from hiring quasi-military forces.
Scott’s challenge set off a domino effect, prompting the Government Accountability Office to dismiss protests brought by two major private security contractors the Army had removed as potential bidders — Erinys Iraq, a British firm, and Blackwater USA of North Carolina.
Michael Golden, the GAO’s managing associate general counsel for procurement law, said the agency dropped the matter because Scott’s court complaint may force the Army to revise the lucrative contract.
The GAO’s dismissal of the two protests on Thursday freed the Army to award the contract at any time. Erinys moved quickly yesterday to seek a temporary restraining order to prevent the Army from awarding the contract. (Washington Post)