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April 16, 2008

John Kerry scrutinizes defense contractor's "disadvantaged" status

John Kerry is digging deeper into the AEY scandal: The senator from Massachusetts wants to know how the fly-by-night arms contractor got classified as a small disadvantaged business, despite the complete absence of a paper trail certifying that the company qualified for this highly sought after and difficult-to-obtain designation:

The chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee is demanding an explanation from the State and Defense departments for how a wealthy 22-year-old arms dealer, under investigation for providing decades-old ammunition to Afghan security forces, was inappropriately classified as a small disadvantaged business on dozens of federal contracts.

Responding to an April 3 report from Government Executive, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., sent letters to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday requesting responses about AEY Inc. of Miami, and its owner, Efraim Diveroli.

Kerry is interested in how AEY obtained its SDB designation -- despite never requesting or garnering such a classification from the Small Business Administration -- and if the company received any preferential treatment as a result of the mistake.

"I believe your agency owes Congress and the American public some answers," Kerry wrote to Gates. "I am concerned that a lack of oversight of contracting programs at DoD is allowing companies like AEY to erroneously access hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts as an SDB, undermining efforts to level the playing field for small firms." [GovExec]

The president of AEY and two of his former top lieutenants were scheduled to testify before a House committee on April 14, but that hearing has been postponed because the witnesses refuses to testify without immunity.

Immunity might not be a bad option. The would-be star witnesses are a 22-year-old high school dropout whose family is heavily involved in the international arms trade, his 25-year-old masseuse, and a third guy in his early twenties associated with some kind of party promotion company in Miami Beach.  If this motley crew could be persuaded to roll over on the people who helped them land a $300 million arms contract, immunity might be a good deal for the people of the United States.

Many observers, myself included, have wondered why Efraim Diveroli, David Packouz, and Meyer Levi were called to testify, but not Efraim's father Michael Diveroli, the founder of AEY. Maybe Waxman has been hoping to turn them all along.


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Yep, these AEY guys are "disadvantaged" and the Mormon child rapers are (thankfully) "minorities." To the Bush Administration such classifications are not an impediment to their will but rather a means to achieve it.

Andrew Sullivan Is A Fraud

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