State Department Contract Hid Identity of British Firm Providing Benghazi Security
Breitbart News has learned that the State Department hid the identity and nationality of Blue Mountain Group, the British firm it hired to provide "no bullets" security at Benghazi, in the federal contract it signed with that organization in February 2012.Breitbart News obtained a copy of the official summary of the contract by performing a search at the Federal Procurement Data System website, a link provided by Wired.com's Danger Room.
Blue Mountain Group was not identified as the vendor in that summary of the contract. Instead, the vendor was listed under the vague term "Miscellaneous Foreign Awardee."
Incredibly, the vendor contact address on the contract -- 1275 First Street, NE, Washington, D.C. is not the office of Blue Mountain Group, but is instead the office of the Regulatory Secretariat Division of the General Services Administration of the federal government. The phone contact listed in the contract is of an office number for an employee of the GSA.
According to its website, the Regulatory Secretariat Division has the following responsibilities:
The Regulatory Secretariat Division staff prepares, compiles, and processes regulatory and general notices for publication in the Federal Register. The Division works in conjunction with the efforts of the General Services Administration (GSA), Department of Defense (DOD), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to ensure publication of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Additional publications are processed by working with various GSA offices to ensure the publications of the Federal Management Regulation (FMR), Federal Travel Regulation (FTR), General Services Acquisition Regulation/Manual (GSAR/GSAM), and other General Services Administration (GSA) regulations.None of these activities seem consistent with functioning as the "front location" for an unidentified "Miscellaneous Foreign Awardee" responsible for providing security at the American mission in Benghazi.
On Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland identified Blue Mountain Group as the "Miscellaneous Foreign Awardee" that had received the State Department contract to provide security Benghazi.
The contract was signed on February 17, 2012, and went into effect on March 1, 2012. Over the course of a one-year-and-three-day period ending on March 4, 2013, Blue Mountain Group is scheduled to be paid $783,284. Records indicate that the vendor received a payment of $387,413 on May 3, 2012.
The contract clearly specifies the requirements of the contract to be performed by the vendor as "Local Guard Program - Benghazi, Libya."
The contract classifies the product/service code as "Housekeeping-guard," and the associated NAICS code as "Security Guards and Patrol Services."
In a peculiar twist, the contract states that Libya is the country of product or service origin. Typically, contracts awarded to "Miscellaneous Foreign Awardees" will list the actual country in which the vendor is headquartered. A similar State Department contract, for instance, in which a Jordanian firm provided telecommunication services to the American mission in Benghazi identified that firm's originating country as Jordan.
Blue Mountain Group, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom, has been identified as a "British-Libyan" firm in some press reports.
The contract summary notes that there had been a total of four vendors bidding on the contract. Of the three vendors who bid on the contract but did not receive it, it seems likely that at least one was American.
As Breitbart News reported earlier, however, the State Department wanted to keep a "low profile" for Americans in Libya, and may have selected the British firm to be consistent with that philosophy.
Breitbart phoned the GSA for an explanation of this unusual situation but has yet to receive an answer. Here is the subsequent email dialogue between Breitbart News and Mafara Hobson, who works in Public Affairs for the GSA:
As of 6:45 pm eastern time Wednesday, Ms. Hobson had not provided a response. Phone calls to the phone number of the GSA employee identified as the "Miscellaneous Foreign Awardee" vendor contact in the contract summary were also not returned.Mafara Hobson: Hi Michael, I got a message to give you a call about a media inquiry.Mafara Hobson: What do you need?Leahy: Ms. Hobson,Why was the address of Regulatory Secretariat of the GSA and a GSA phone number answered by a GSA employee listed in the contact information for the "Miscellaneous Foreign Awardee" vendor providing security services to the State Department at the American mission in Benghazi, Libya rather than the address, name, and phone number of the actual vendor, Blue Mountain Group of the United Kingdom?Michael Patrick LeahyBreitbart NewsMafara Hobson: Where was this listed?Leahy: Ms. Hobson,Procurement identifier: SAQMMA12C0092 (see attached file)https://www.fpds.gov/fpdsng_cms/ and search for "benghazi"Working on deadline today.Can you get me a response to my inquiry soon?Thanks
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Regulatory Secretariat DivisionThe Regulatory Secretariat Division staff prepares, compiles, and processes regulatory and general notices for publication in the Federal Register. The Division works in conjunction with the efforts of the General Services Administration (GSA), Department of Defense (DOD), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to ensure publication of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Additional publications are processed by working with various GSA offices to ensure the publications of the Federal Management Regulation (FMR), Federal Travel Regulation (FTR), General Services Acquisition Regulation/Manual (GSAR/GSAM), and other General Services Administration (GSA) regulations.
GSA’s Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) program is managed by the Regulatory Secretariat Division. Information collections consist of paper and web media and are used to collect information from the public. The staff ensures all information collections are published in the Federal Register, public comments are sought, and the requests are submitted to OMB for approval.