In Hollywood Westerns, the sheriff engages in a shootout with bad guys and wins. Such was the story of Wyatt Earp, who killed rustlers in the "Gunfight at OK Corral". Then there is the American cowboy, represented by John Wayne - tall, handsome, Anglo-Saxon – who rides into town whistling before he dispatches the "bad guys" sometimes represented by "Indians" like Geronimo, the Apache, who supposedly terrorised innocent settlers.
Was Adel Hamlily an agent for MI6, the British secret services, and simultaneously a "facilitator, courier, kidnapper, and assassin for al-Qaida"? Was there a secret al Qaeda cell in Bremen that even the German government knew nothing about? And could it be possible that an 11-year-old Saudi villager was leading a terrorist cell in London?
When Major General Mohamed Said Elassar, assistant to Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the Egyptian minister of defence, came to the U.S. capital last April, he was given the equivalent of a red carpet welcome. The delegation of high-ranking Egyptian military officials that he was leading was ushered from one Congressional office to the next, from the Pentagon to the State Department.
One billion dollars and just over four years after Boeing won a contract to build a "virtual fence" on the Arizona-Mexico border, the high-tech project was canceled last week by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) amid widespread recognition that it has been a failure.
When the price of salt in Ohio skyrocketed 236 percent in the winter of 2008, Ted Strickland, the governor of the state, asked the state inspector general to figure out why. Investigators quickly found that two government contractors – Cargill and Morton Salt – were responsible for this sudden price increase.
Mordechai Orian, president of Global Horizons, a Los Angeles- based labour recruiter, has been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for "engaging in a conspiracy to commit forced labour and document servitude" of approximately 400 Thai citizens who were brought to work on farms in the U.S. between May 2004 and September 2005.
Military auditors failed to complete an audit of the business systems of an Ohio- based company - Mission Essential Personnel - even though it had billed for one billion dollars worth of work largely in Afghanistan over the last four years.
When Wikileaks, a whistleblower website, released 76,000 incident reports from the U.S. war in Afghanistan, the exploits of a secret military "capture/kill" team called Task Force 373 was revealed for the first time.
When Danny Hall and Gordon Phillips, the civilian and military directors of the U.S. provincial reconstruction team in Nangahar Province, Afghanistan arrived for a meeting with Gul Agha Sherzai, the local governor, in mid-June 2007, they knew that they had a lot of apologising to do.
"Find, fix, finish, and follow-up" - also known as F4 - is the way the Pentagon describes the mission of secret military teams in Afghanistan which have been given a mandate to pursue alleged members of the Taliban or al Qaeda wherever they may be found. Some call these "manhunting" operations and the units assigned to them "capture/kill" teams.
A system designed to track the success of Afghan police training is deeply flawed, says a report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan (SIGAR).
Every day, as many as 260 trucks filled with supplies for U.S. troops - from muffins to fuel to armoured tanks - are driven from the Pakistani port of Karachi across the Khyber pass into Afghanistan.
Jerry Torres, CEO of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, has a motto: "For Torres, failure is not an option." A former member of the Green Berets, one of the elite U.S. Army Special Forces, he was awarded "Executive of the Year" at the seventh annual "Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards" in November 2009.
Should private contractors like Blackwater be allowed to continue to provide armed security for convoys, diplomatic and other personnel, and military bases and other facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq? A bipartisan U.S. Congressional commission will spend two days cross-examining 14 witnesses from academia, government and the companies themselves to come up with an answer.
Pentagon chief Robert Gates has called for a cutback of 15 billion dollars in wasteful military spending on contractors as well as government bureaucracy, or risk not being able to pay for its current force.