The Obama Administration has arranged to provide—free of charge—several customized special-operations military vessels to the Government of Kenya, U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor has learned. Finalization of those plans came exactly one week prior to today’s explosion in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
Although officially it remains unclear whether the blast was the result of a utility problem or the work of terrorists, Reuters reports that a witness saw a man place a suspicious package in business-district building right before the explosion.
The U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command is awarding a noncompetitive “sole-source contract to United States Marine Incorporated (USMI) of Gulfport, Miss to provide five (5) 11M Naval Special Warfare Rigid Inflatable Boats,” according to a presolicitation notice that NAVSEC uploaded to a federal contracting database May 21.
The U.S. Navy in a separate “Fact File” describes the vessels as “High-speed, high-buoyancy, extreme-weather craft with the primary mission of SEAL insertion/extraction.”
A History Channel report referred to the boat as “the Lamborghini of special warfare craft.”
The 36-ft. turbocharged vessels typically carry a crew of three in addition to one SEAL squad, and are armed with an “M60 7.62mm machine gun, MK19 40mm, [and] M2 .50 cal. machine gun.” Although the presolicitation document did not specify whether NAVSEC was equipping the USMI-provided boats with such armaments, it said the company “will provide services and materials required to build the boat, as well as execute testing, trials, depreservation of the boat in preparation for transportation, and perform in-country reactivation.”
NAVSEC did not dislcose the estimated cost of the Kenya-bound boats.
The naval unit justified the sole-source contract based on its claim that USMI “is the only source with the 11M Naval Special Warfare Rigid Inflatable Boat data rights necessary to build and perform services depicted through a foreign military case for the Kenyan Government. This firm has the requisite background knowledge and experience required.”
A review of Federal Election Commission campaign contribution records supports NAVSECs contention that it awarded the noncompetitive contract based on USMI’s ability to provide the equipment; indeed, the Obama Administration clearly did not allow the company executive team’s generosity to Republican causes to stand in the way of this award.
USMI Chairman John Dane III, for example, donated $104,000 largely to Republican committees and candidates since 1998.
The most sizeable gift from Dane III was a $25,000 contribution to the Republican National Committee in 2004. He also gave $15,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in July 2010—a contribution that he matched once again in October 2011.
Six days later he contributed $2,500 to Romney for President, Inc.
Most recently he gave $2,500 to Palazzo for Congress Committee. U.S. Rep. Steven McCarty Palazzo (R-MS) currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee, which gives him a seat on its Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces as well as the Subcommittee on Readiness.
CEO Barry Dreyfus also has given more than $100,000 mainly to Republican candidates and committees over the past fifteen years, most recently cutting two separate $2,500 checks on the same day (Jan. 26, 2012) to the Palazzo for Congress Committee
Interestingly, the sole FEC record of a campaign contribution made by Bryant Bernhard, USMI president, was a $2,400 check made out May 24, 2010 to the Gene Taylor for Congress Committee. Taylor was the Democrat who lost his seat to Palazzo in the following November election.
There is no record of any campaign contributions made by VP Conrad Keubel.
Steve Peacock is a freelance writer who has sold work to publications including The Tampa Tribune, WorldNetDaily (WND), Drug Enforcement Report, Corrections Journal, and The Revered Review.
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Contributed by Steve Peacock of U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor.