July 18, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials are investigating whether millions of dollars are being steered improperly toward a government contractor to run the country’s largest counterterrorism exercise.
At issue is a written request for companies to compete for the TOPOFF 5 exercise contract and whether an employee of Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) wrote parts of the proposal, according to officials familiar with the contract who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive procurement activity.
It would be considered a conflict of interest if an SAIC employee both drafted the document and intends to compete for the contract, according to Melanie Sloan, director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency would not say how much the TOPOFF 5 contract is worth. The last exercise cost about $25 million. The contract for TOPOFF 5 has not been awarded.
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