EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea’s ‘Best Friend’ Wins $11 Mil In Defense Contracts With No Clearance
A company whose president is “best friends” with Chelsea Clinton received more than $11 million in contracts over the last decade from a highly secretive Department of Defense think tank, but to date, the group lacks official federal approval to handle classified materials, according to sensitive documents TheDCNF was allowed to review.
Jacqueline Newmyer, the president of a company called the Long Term Strategy Group, has over the last 10 years received numerous Defense Department contracts from a secretive think tank called Office of Net Assessment.
The Office of Net Assessment is so sensitive, the specialized think tank is housed in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and reports directly to the secretary.
To date, the Long Term Strategy Group has received $11.2 million in contracts, according to USAspending,gov, a government database of federal contracts.
But after winning a decade of contracts from the Office of Net Assessment, the federal agency is only now in the process of granting clearance to the company. Long Term Strategy Group never operated a secure room on their premises to handle classified materials, according to the Defense Security Service, a federal agency that approves secure rooms inside private sector firms. Long Term Strategy Group operates offices in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge, Mass.
“The Long Term Strategy Group is currently in process for a facility clearance with the Defense Security Service,” the agency informed TheDCNF in an email.
Newmyer declined to address her company’s lack of facilities to handle classified material. “With regard to your questions about the status of our facilities, those are best directed to the US government, which has authority over such matters,” she wrote in an email to TheDCNF.
She also declined to say whether her company is footing the bill for the new secure facility, or if the taxpayers are footing the bill through the Office of Net Assessment.
Adam Lovinger, a whistleblower and 12-year Office of Net Assessment (ONA) veteran, has repeatedly warned ONA’s leadership they faced risks by relying on outside contractors as well as the problem of cronyism and a growing “revolving door” policy, where ONA employees would leave the defense think tank and join private contractors to do the same work.
Others outside ONA have drawn similar conclusions about the office’s reliance on outside contractors. USA Today complained in August 2013 that the same set of contractors never seem to leave ONA: “While Democratic and Republican administrations come and go, ONA and its team of outside advisers remains the same. Contract records show the office relies on studies from outside contractors.”
Clinton and Newmyer first met each other while attending Sidwell Friends School, an exclusive private Quaker school in the nation’s capital. They were in each other’s weddings, and in 2011 Chelsea referred to Newmyer as her “best friend.”
In numerous emails, Chelsea’s mom, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, actively promoted Newmyer and attempted to assist her in securing Defense Department contracts.
Secretary Clinton put Newmyer in contact with Michèle Flournoy, then-President Barack Obama’s undersecretary of defense, according to the emails from Clinton’s private email server released by the Department of State under a lawsuit filed by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
Hillary followed up in a July 19, 2009 email, asking Newmyer, “By the way, did the DOD contract work out?”
ONA was supposed to work on complicated future warfare scenarios when it was originally set up in the 1970s.
The think tank’s first director, Andrew Marshall, was adored by a coterie of ONA staff. He was called “Yoda,” after the “Star Wars” series, adding to his mystique. Marshall lasted in the DOD post for 42 years and retired at the age of 93 in 2015.
In 2016, Lovinger sent a series of memos to James H. Baker, ONA’s new director, raising many problems Baker “inherited” from Marshall, including the use of contractors. ONA has a reputation for issuing “‘sweet-heart contracts’ to a privileged few,” Lovinger told Baker in a Sept. 30, 2016 email chain.
ONA’s leadership, led by Baker, did not take kindly to Lovinger’s warnings and allegedly retaliated against the staffer, according to Sean Bigley, a federal security clearance attorney who also represents him.
Baker suspended Lovinger’s security clearance in May for “security infractions,” and launched numerous investigations.
The suspension came after Lovinger had been detailed to the National Security Council. He was removed from the National Security Council after losing his security clearance, and now languishes inside a Defense Department satellite office doing busy work.
In a Sept. 13, 2017 letter to DOD officials, Bigley charged: “A review of the ‘case file’ in this matter illuminates a picture of intentional whistleblower retaliation against Mr. Lovinger; personal and political vendettas against Lovinger by Baker …”
Although Lovinger has since been exonerated of all the accusations, he still faces the possibility of a revocation of his clearance. His case is currently pending before Defense Department officials.
In a recent move, Baker decided to “reclassify” Lovinger’s ONA position to one that now requires new skills he doesn’t possess.
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