Friday, July 1, 2005

Exactly What Is It You Guys Do?

If you’ve been inattentive, names like Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham and Mitch Wade might pass you by. 


The Cliff notes are that Cunningham is a congressman who got caught letting Wade sweetheart-deal the selling of his California house for about 700k over value . . . oops, Cunningham sits on the House Appropriations Committee and Wade’s MZM, Inc. profits hugely from those appropriations. Maybe it’s just an understandable confusion over terms.  Cunningham might have thought ‘House Appropriation Committee’ meant it was set up specifically so Wade could ‘appropriate’ his California house and provide a little pocket cash. 


DukecunninghamMitchellwadeWade has been quoted as describing his congressional strategy this way: "The only people I want to work with are people I give checks to. I own them." Any comment, ‘Duke’?  Anyway, you can see from their photos they’re certainly not bozos, 'Duke' on the left and Mitch on the right.


Since its founding in 1993, MZM, Inc. claims on its web site to have been solving enigmatic problems for an ever wider range of government and private sector entities. Well, I guess! 


My dictionary defines enigmatic as something that is not easily explained or understood. Now, segue to MZM’s growth from a $140,000 supplier of office furniture in 2002 to $32 million in terrorist-related income in 2003, ballooning to $78 million in 2004, all under the newly minted procurement process the government calls ‘blanket purchase agreements.’ Hint: this is not for the purchased of blankets. Segue again to the shit hitting the fan concerning Cunningham’s house and the Mitchell Wade yacht he lives on free of charge when he’s in Washington and you have the basis for MZM getting its wings clipped.


Their $250 million blanket purchase agreement was yanked with about $140 mil not yet spent.


Damn, I hate when that happens!


Getting back to MZM’s web site, it modestly reads that “Today, its (MZM’s) special capabilities in providing creative and innovative solutions in a rapidly changing environment have been recognized as "state of the art" by clients both domestically and abroad.”  Does anyone know what that means?  Creative and innovative solutions are state-of-the-art?   Parse that for me, Wade. “Our traditional strengths in the areas of intelligence collection and analysis, where application of the most recently developed technologies are brought to bear, are enhanced by expanding capabilities in the national security and policy planning fields and enabled by a highly motivated and experienced staff.” 


Excuse me?  Who writes that stuff?  Worse yet, who reads it and writes a blank-check for $250 mil? Traditional?  Is that the ‘tradition’ that runs all the way back three years to selling office furniture?


MZM’s major contracts are said to be with Counter Intelligence Field Activity (Pentagon), the Army National Ground Intelligence Center (Army) and the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (also Army).


Does it make you sleep better at night to know that these high-profile government  and military organizations, all with ‘intelligence’ prominently displayed in their titles, are depending upon a rug-merchant for their fieldwork?  An opportunistic rug-merchant, no doubt, but still . . .


Does anyone know what it is exactly that these guys do? 


Did anyone at Pentagon or Army check their corporate history, experience, training, credentials or qualifications or did this all just sail through on ‘Duke’ Cunningham’s say-so?
Everyone’s running for cover and MZM is up for sale, having hired a retired three-star general to run the fire sale. 


Cunningham will no doubt be elected to a 9th term in Congress, ‘cause he knows how to ‘bring home the bacon’ for Southern California.


For more comments on Washington at work, see my personal web site.