Millions More For Drone Contractor Implicated In Corruption

Today, the Naval Air Warfare Center announced a $49 million contract for Trident Systems of Fairfax, Virginia. The company will continue its work on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, better known as those flying death-drones from the Terminator movies which, inevitably, will attain self-awareness and kill us all.

But that’s not the worst part.

A few years back, TPM Muckraker and Harper’s Magazine cast light on an orgy of mutual back-scratching involving a California Congressman, a lobbying firm run by his former aide and a defense contractor named…Trident Systems.

The backstory is too convoluted to rehash here, but needless to say, it was a big to-do that continues to make headlines. The takeaway: Trident founder Nick Karangelen helped buy a $1 million townhouse for a former aide of US Rep. Jerry Lewis (pictured) after Lewis’ former aide, now a lobbyist, helped secure millions of dollars in federal spending for Trident.

One would think the US military might hesitate to shovel tens of millions of dollars toward at a company whose recent actions bordered on bribery, for work on a weapons system that in many ways symbolizes both the essential blindness of the US strategy in “AfPak” and the dehumanizing effects of high-tech warfare.

One would be wrong, on both counts.