CACI International Inc. was awarded a new contract for its controversial interrogation services in Iraq, the Army said yesterday.
The contract could be worth up to $23 million over a six-month period beginning this month. A similar contract awarded to CACI a year ago led to international scrutiny of the Arlington company when one of its employees was implicated in an internal Army report on the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad.
The report accused CACI interrogator Steven A. Stefanowicz of encouraging soldiers to set conditions for interrogations and said he "clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse." Stefanowicz's lawyer has denied that his client did anything wrong. CACI also has said the company has performed its duties properly.
The new contract was awarded without competitive bidding, a senior Army contracting official said, because CACI's interrogators were already on duty in Iraq and could not be replaced by the time the existing contract expired in mid-August.
The contract, which was awarded directly by the Army and is officially called a bridge contract, includes a four-month base period worth $15.3 million and two optional one-month extensions worth up to $3.8 million each.
The Army official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon will issue a request for proposals from contractors seeking to compete for the interrogation work in Iraq sometime in the next few months. The optional extensions to CACI's latest award will be used only if the competition has not been completed by December.
In addition to interrogation, the contract calls for CACI to provide intelligence and office support services and to screen Iraqis for access to protected locations.
The service contract was awarded directly by the Army because the Interior Department, which managed CACI's previous interrogation contract, said it would not issue extensions for the work and was "considering terminating this work because it was out of scope," the Army official said.
The original contract, awarded by the Interior Department a year ago, was issued under an umbrella contract intended to be used for the purchase of information technology products and services. Last month, Interior Department spokesman Frank Quimby said the agency is going to "get out of the interrogation business."
"CACI is pleased to continue to support the Army's mission in Iraq," company spokeswoman Jody Brown said last night. "Continuity in services to end the war on terrorism is essential, and the men and women of CACI are proud to support the Army in doing so.''