Two days after WND uncovered a U.S. State Department plan to buy hundreds of pounds of plastic explosives and thousands of containers of liquid explosives, the agency – which refuses to comment on the discovery – awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts for the blasting supplies.
The explosives, including hundreds of pounds of C4, originally were to be shipped to Sterling, Virginia, home to the Diplomatic Pouch and Mail Unit, or DPM/U. The unit is tasked with sending secure pouches and crates to U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, as previously reported.
The original contracting documents still mention the DPM/U shipping destination and list a State Department contracting office address in Dun Loring, Virginia, site of a diplomatic-security field office.
But the new contract awards suddenly identify the contracting office address as 1701 N. Ft. Myer Dr., Arlington, Virginia – headquarters of the Office of Security Management within the State Department Construction, Facility and Security Management Directorate.
The directorate is a division of State’s Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, or OBO, whose mission is to provide “safe, secure, and functional facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and support our staff as they work to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives.”
The State Department thus far has awarded contracts in two explosives-procurement actions. Both went to the Arkansas-based Omni Explosives.
Omni will get $320,000 via Contract Award No. 10524H1636 to provide State with 450 pounds of C4 M112 explosives, nearly 2,600 containers of liquid and aluminum-powder explosives, 188 feet of “linear-shaped charges” and more than 8,000 blasting caps and other equipment. The award satisfies Solicitation No. FY14-GC-273.
State will pay Omni an additional $30,000 via Contract Award No. 10524H0257 for another 225 pounds of C4 plastic explosives, five pounds of C2 “sheet explosives” and 144 bottles of high-energy liquid explosives.
Accompanying the order, which satisfies Solicitation No. FY14-GC-281, are thousands of feet of detonating cord plus 18,000 feet of military-grade safety fuses and hundreds of blasting caps and fuse igniters.
State has not yet awarded contracts in Solicitation No. FY14-GC-282, which seeks yet another combination of C4 block, sheet and liquid explosives with accompanying caps, igniters and related blasting equipment. Nor has it awarded a contract for “explosive entry systems,” “blasting tubes” and inert C4 and dynamite via Solicitation no. FY14-GC-272.
The State Department in the meantime appears ready, for reasons unknown, to privatize some of its diplomatic pouch-service functions.
Within days of awarding the contracts for the explosives, which are to be delivered to the Sterling diplomatic facility, the Office of Logistics Management in State’s Bureau of Administration revealed its need for contractors “to provide technical, management, and labor necessary for Diplomatic Pouch and Mail Support Services at various Department of State Facilities in the Metro DC area.”
The ultimate destination for the explosives remains shrouded in secrecy, as State has failed to explain its intentions for the destructive materials.
Indeed, WND’s entreaties to State’s Office of Press Relations initially were met with laughter.
That inquiry was then stonewalled by a State spokesperson’s purported puzzlement about what WND wanted to know about the explosives.
Among other questions, State was asked to explain how the blasting equipment fits with its mission to “shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.”
State has not responded, despite putting in writing this and other questions, such as: “For what purpose is the department making these purchases? How – and where and by whom – will these explosives be used?”
State also recently published a bid request on a combined package of products ranging from explosives-storage lockers to hundreds of cans of spray paint.
It separately issued a similarly varied solicitation seeking several “ARMAG type” explosives-storage boxes – two eight-feet tall and another two that are 12-feet high – that meet all Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms “specifications for fire, weather and theft resistance.”