As this is being written late in the evening of March 20, the State Department has not yet revealed the name of the contractor(s) whose employees improperly peeked at the passport files of Sen. Barack Obama.
My money is on Stanley Inc., a Virginia company that has done extensive work for the Department’s Passport Services Directorate and only a few days ago was awarded a new $570 million contract to do more of the same. The company’s announcement of its good fortune began as follows:
ARLINGTON, Va., March 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Stanley, Inc. (NYSE: SXE), a leading provider of systems integration and professional services to the U.S. federal government, today announced that it was awarded a five-year, $570 million contract to continue support of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs/Passport Services Directorate. Services include production, operational and business process support training, procurement, administration and evaluation of critical supplies, and facilities management support at the four Centers and 14 Passport Agencies nationwide along with the Headquarters’ support offices.
The release also says:
“Stanley is honored to continue its support services to the Department of State,” said Phil Nolan, Stanley chairman, president and CEO. “We will dedicate all resources necessary to assist Passport Services during this time of unprecedented growth and increasing demand…”
Even if it turns out that the workers involved in the electronic trespassing into Obama’s records were indeed Stanley employees, it is too early to say whether the company was in any way culpable in the matter.
But one thing that would add to the appearance of impropriety is that CEO Nolan has, according to the Open Secrets database, been a campaign contributor to Sen. Joe Lieberman, a leading supporter of Obama’s Republican adversary John McCain. In March 2005 Nolan gave $1,000 to Lieberman’s reelection campaign.
Since 2005, Nolan has also contributed a total of $5,350 to the election campaigns of Republican Rep. Tom Davis of Northern Virginia, where Stanley is headquartered and where Nolan apparently lives. He also gave $1,000 to Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine last December. Nolan’s only other federal contributions were to the political action committee of his trade association, the Professional Services Council. According to Open Secrets, during the 2006 election cycle (which is when Nolan made his contributions), the Council gave 70 percent of its money to Republicans.
Whether or not Stanley Inc. is named in the Obama matter, the company may find itself answering questions about its passport operations. And members of Congress will hopefully also be asking whether the whole affair is, among other things, yet another reminder of the perils of outsourcing.
UPDATE (March 22): After this post was written, additional information appeared on the Open Secrets site indicating that Nolan recently contributed $1,000 to the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton. And, as has been widely reported, it turns out that the passport files of Senators Clinton and McCain were also accessed improperly.