Making it up as they go

Rules are for those who lack the creativity to make it up as they go along, according to today's news that USAID ignored its own rules in awarding Iraq reconstruction contracts.

Remember the oft-invoked "security" response to criticisms of a "bidding" process that awarded contracts to well-connected U.S. companies? You know, that applicants needed hard-to-get security clearance before they could be considered? This requirement put companies like Bechtel and Halliburton on top of the pile when it came to bidding for lucrative reconstruction jobs.

It turns out that the very first contract awarded, announced March 24, went to a Seattle-based company lacking the "required" clearance. Not only that, but the requirement was removed from the contract _after_ the job was awarded:

bq. USAID spokeswoman Ellen Yount said the requirement was changed because "the circumstances on the ground had changed significantly enough that the security clearance was no longer warranted."

So, by March 24, the requirement was no longer warranted, but it was warranted enough in April, when the Bechtel contracts were awarded? Come one -- these guys can't even keep the story straight.