As reported by The New York Times today, the Trump administration has awarded an $2.8 million no-bid contract to the Russian company Elite Security Holdings to provide security guards for the U.S. embassy and consulates in Russia. That is not a typo. What makes this deal particularly egregious is that Elite Security was founded by former KGB official, and Putin-mentor, Vicktor G. Budanov, who also has ties that include the British spy and traitor Kim Philby.
As you may recall, Putin ordered the United States to slash our diplomatic staff by 755 employees last July in retaliation for the passage of the Russia Sanctions legislation passed by Congress. Many of those people let go were Russian nationals working at low-level positions. But in order to meet the Russian demands, security guards were also included in that number. Previously, these guards had been hired directly by the embassy and were subject to much closer scrutiny.
The Times articles does make clear that these facilities will still continue to be protected by U.S. Marines and that these “security guards” will not have access to classified areas. However, these guards will take over tasks such as screening visitors to the embassy and consulates. That alone could provide a wealth of intel to Vladimir Putin, while simultaneously discouraging any potential dissidents from visiting U.S. diplomatic facilities.
All this has occurred while Trump has yet to provide any information required by law to Congress on the actions he has undertaken to implement the sanctions on Russia. Zip. Nada. Nothing. The deadline for the first report was October 1st and still no report. Even more troubling is the lack of outcry from Congress on Trump’s failure to “faithfully execute” his duty as Executive Officer.
It is mindboggling that the Trump administration could not only find any other company, anywhere else in the world, to provide this security, but that they would award a contract to a firm linked to both to former KGB operatives and Vladimir Putin. A no-bid contract.
Talk about putting the Russian fox in charge of the henhouse.