This just in from the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Mercyhurst College, a small Roman Catholic institution in the hometown of the former secretary of homeland security, Tom Ridge, has been awarded a no-bid contract to train intelligence analysts for the department.
A spokesman for the Homeland Security Department said on Wednesday that Mercyhurst, a liberal-arts college in Erie, Pa., was the only institution qualified for the job. Mercyhurst began training a class of 20 analysts last week at a department facility in Northern Virginia.
"The college was the one able to meet our time lines and bring their established program to a local training location at no additional cost," said Thomas P. Burke, the spokesman. He said the department had consulted with other colleges before making its decision. Mr. Ridge did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
But the $90,000 deal has raised eyebrows at the Center for Public Integrity, a government-watchdog group based here. The nonprofit group says the department should have conducted an open review that would have allowed larger, local programs to compete.
Mercyhurst's Institute for Intelligence Studies has been around only since 2004, although the 4,000-student college has been training undergraduates for intelligence jobs since 1992 and has offered a master's degree with an intelligence concentration since 1995. Georgetown University and George Washington University, both located here in Washington, have had security-studies programs in place for at least two decades.
Officials at Georgetown and George Washington said they had not been approached by the department but would have been interested in applying for the contract had there been a competition.
"There may be legitimate reasons why Mercyhurst was a better candidate, but you're not going to find that out without an open competition," said William A. Allison, a spokesman for the Center for Public Integrity. "This does create an impression that there is some favoritism" at play.
Humm...Georgetown, GW? Don't we know these institutions a bit better than Mercyhurst? Let's see, a program that is less than three years old, versus, well established programs at very substantial institutions that have been around a lot longer?
The way this administration works, no wonder they went with Mercyhurst. Regardless whether it is cronysim or nepotism, the narcisistic boys and girls of W, Rove and Co don't see the wrong (as in hear no, see no, speak no). Ah, but we do! For shame.