A onetime biomedical technician with a penchant for gambling, Mr. Montgomery…received more than $20 million in government contracts by claiming that software he had developed could help stop Al Qaeda’s next attack on the United States. But the technology appears to have been a hoax…
The Justice Department, which in the last few months has gotten protective orders from two federal judges keeping details of the technology out of court, says it is guarding state secrets that would threaten national security if disclosed. But others involved in the case say that what the government is trying to avoid is public embarrassment over evidence that Mr. Montgomery bamboozled federal officials.
Unfortunately, this was (and remains) all too common an occurrence. People popping up with the latest gee-whiz vaporware technology making all sorts of grandiose promises and pitching them to people who have no clue whatsoever about intelligence or (even if the stuff was real) what they’d do with it. But, they’re so hypnotized by the flashing lights, fancy words and…well…I’m sure I read about something just like this in a Tom Clancy novel and whoa…how cool would we be if we could brag we had it first!
A Pentagon study in January found that it had paid $285 billion in three years to more than 120 contractors accused of fraud or wrongdoing.
The only reason you don’t see these kind of numbers at the sub-federal level is because they don’t have access to that sort of cash.
On brighter news…the Swedish government has decided to unclassify around 90 reports from the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s unclear what prompted such a disclosure since reports (at least those in English) haven’t made it sound like the reports were to be disclosed a la Wikileaks or that there was anything embarrassing in them. A big thumbs up for releasing them into the cloud and let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend that attempts to declassify information at the earliest (rather than at the latest and reluctantly at that) possible time.
A big thumbs down however for the format in which they released them. I can understand not translating them into English. After all, they speak Swedish. But they put it in this cockamamie format so that you can’t even cut and paste it into a translator website. C’mon! I’m jonsin’ for some secret diplomatic cables and since the my nation is being a bunch of party poopers I need my fix!