Tags: gop | french | contract

GOP Lawmakers Protest French FBI Contract

Monday, 04 May 2009 08:31 PM

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Republican lawmakers raised concerns Monday about a contract the FBI could award to a French company for a digital fingerprint identification system.

The legislators wrote letters to FBI Director Robert Mueller expressing uneasiness about granting a national security-related contract to Safran, part of which the French government owns.

"Allowing a foreign government to provide services regarding sensitive information to our law enforcement and intelligence communities could potentially pose a grave counterintelligence threat to the US government," wrote Minnesota Rep. John Kline, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

"I urge the FBI to assess whether any domestic companies are capable of this work and weigh carefully the risks versus the benefits of granting a foreign government access to this sensitive data," he wrote.

Two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, also wrote Mueller about the contract, their offices said.

The FBI announced in February 2008 that it had contracted Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions to develop a new criminal and terrorist identification system called Next Generation Identification.

The U.S. company could subcontract part of the work dealing with digital fingerprints to MorphoTrak, a Safran affiliate that specializes in biometric systems.

A spokeswoman for Virginia-based MorphoTrak, Eve Fillon, declined to comment on the issue.

Safran, an electronic and defense company that specializes in aerospace propulsion, aircraft equipment and defense security systems, acquired Motorola's biometric activities in April.

Copyright AFP 2008, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium

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