Belmont Club

Pilot of the airwaves

The FBI raided the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, D.C. Their website says, “OCTO employees stationed at OJS (441 4th Street, NW) should not report to work until further notice.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — A District of Columbia employee and a technology consultant have been hit with corruption charges after a raid on the former office of a city official who now works for President Barack Obama.

The charges were formalized in a federal court hearing as the FBI finished searching the city’s technology office, which was led until recently by Obama’s new computer chief, Vivek Kundra.

Ysuf Acar, a city technology worker, was ordered held without bond pending a hearing Tuesday. Prosecutors said $70,000 in cash was found during a search of Acar’s home.

Technology consultant Sushil Bansal was released but was ordered not to engage in overseas financial transactions. Bansal is due back in court on April 21.

Acar worked under Kundra, Obama’s pick to coordinate federal computer systems.

Kundra himself was not a target of the raids. Mark Seagraves, who was onsite, reported what he could learn from the raid by Twitter. “The contractor arrested got gov contracts worth about 350K last year … An official in the D.C. government’s office of the chief technology officer has been arrested in a federal bribery sting.” Interestingly, Ysuf Acar appears to have described himself as “the agency’s chief security officer”.

The other person under custody, Sushil Bansal, ” heads Advanced Integrated Technologies Corp“. A look at AITC’s portfolio shows it has worked on the Citywide IT Security Program (CWITS) and the Motor Vehicles Information System (DESTINY).

Wired says Kundra, who has been proposing “radical transparency” in government, will probably be unscathed by the raids.

it is not clear how closely Kundra and Acar worked, or whether Kundra will be criticized for his supervision. Although the breaking news must be causing severe headaches in the administration, a source close to the Obama tech team suggests the story will pass. “Kundra will be fine. His aide will not. … One of his main jobs for Obama will be determining what data can and should be opened up, a complicated process given concerns about privacy and the general bureaucratic difficulties that the federal government has in acting.”

The Washington Post in a profile of Kundra and his management style depicts him as a someone who wants to “wire” the government to the public by providing a number of new channels through they can interact directly. Preliminary reports from the Associated Press suggest that Acar and Bansal will be accused of defrauding the government.

Acar, a 40-year-old native of Turkey, had a $127,468-a-year position purchasing the city’s computer equipment and lining up contract workers for numerous city agencies, according to court documents. Authorities say Acar and Bansal, along with others, defrauded the government through a variety of schemes, including billing the city for items that were never delivered and “ghost” contract employees who did not work. The scheme involved Acar approving falsified bills and splitting the money with vendors including Bansal, who submitted them, court documents alleged. …

Kundra is on leave from his White House job until further details of the case become known, according to a White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the official did not want to publicly discuss personnel matters.

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