US: Whistleblower alleges Lockheed official misled Congress on Deepwater

A senior official at Lockheed Martin Corp. in charge of the Deepwater contract for the Coast Guard refused a meeting with one of his own division employees in 2004 to discuss shortcomings in the program's converted patrol boats, charged Deepwater whistleblower Michael DeKort in a just-released letter to two members of Congress.

Fred Moosally, president of Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors, also recently made several incorrect representations in his congressional testimony on May 17, DeKort claimed in the letter. A copy of the letter was posted online by the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit group that investigates government corruption and ethics violations.

Lockheed Martin today defended Moosally's statements. "We have talked about DeKort's allegations at length and we stand by Mr. Moosally's testimony as submitted to Congress," Lockheed Martin spokesman Troy Scully told Washington Technology.

DeKort, who once worked for Lockheed Martin but is no longer employed with the company, became a whistleblower in 2006 when he publicized shoddy work on the boats. The Coast Guard and the Homeland Security Department's inspector general confirmed that the boats suffered hull problems and did not meet requirements.

The Coast Guard in April decommissioned the first eight converted patrol boats produced by the team of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Corp. The Coast Guard also announced it is taking over as lead systems integrator for the $24 billion asset modernization program and will compete future work.

In the letter, DeKorp cited several instances in which Lockheed Martin ignored internal reports that cables, encryption systems, infrared, camera and other electronics systems did not meet appropriate requirements. He also wrote that his appeals for a meeting with Moosally were rebuffed.

"In 2004, as I worked my way up the chain in order to find satisfactory resolutions of these matters I attempted to schedule a meeting with Mr. Moosally. He would not accept that request," DeKort wrote. "I was especially discouraged at the time given not only the gravity of the issues but the fact that he was a former Navy officer - which should have heightened his sensitivity to these types of maritime safety and security issues."

In the letter, DeKort refers to Moosally's testimony regarding cables and whether they meet "low-smoke" requirements; specifications for infrared systems; and extreme temperature requirements for materials used in construction, among other systems.

For example, Lockheed Martin allegedly submitted requests for waivers from extreme temperature requirements, stating that the initial eight 123-foot patrol boats would serve in Key West and would not be subjected to those extreme temperatures, DeKort wrote.

"This is a very reckless comment and request," DeKort wrote. "A significant number of those other 123s were destined for places that experience extreme weather. Additionally the eight boats mentioned could have been sent on duty outside of their originally intended home ports."

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