A senior Defense Department official is under investigation by the Pentagon inspector general for allegations that he attempted to alter a contract proposal in Iraq to benefit a mobile phone consortium that includes friends and colleagues, according to documents obtained by The Times and sources with direct knowledge of the process.
John A. Shaw, 64, the deputy undersecretary for international technology security, sought to transform a relatively minor police and fire communications proposal into a contract allowing the creation of an Iraq-wide commercial cellular network that could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue per year, the sources said.
Shaw brought pressure on officials at the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad to change the contract language and grant the consortium a noncompetitive bid, according to the sources.
The consortium, under the guidance of a firm owned by Alaskan natives, consisted of an Irish telecommunications entrepreneur, former officials in the first Bush administration and such leading telecommunications companies as Lucent and Qualcomm, according to sources and consortium members.
Shaw's efforts resulted in a dispute at the Coalition Provisional Authority that has delayed the contract, depriving U.S. military officials and Iraqi police officers, firefighters, ambulance drivers and border guards of a joint communications system.
That has angered top U.S. officials and members of the U.S.-led authority governing Iraq, who say the deaths of many Americans and Iraqis might have been prevented with better communications.
Even Darrell Issa makes an appearance in the latest scandal.