DREN work is up in the air again

DREN work is up in the air again

Two telecommunications companies have lodged protests that ask the General Accounting Office to stop the Defense Department from proceeding with a $450 million deal for WorldCom Inc. to build a high-speed research network.
Sprint Corp. filed a protest with GAO on July 3, and Global Crossing Ltd. of Bermuda followed suit July 5, each questioning the validity of the contract in light of the allegations of accounting fraud swirling around WorldCom.
'It's fueled by what's going on in the market,' said Dan Gordon, associate general counsel for GAO. 'The protests allege the award to MCI WorldCom was void, improper'because of the accounting fraud.'
The Defense Information Systems Agency picked WorldCom to build the Defense Research Engineering Network for scientists and researchers after several previous protests of earlier awards. That announcement prompted another round of protests from losing bidders. Sprint, Global Crossing and AT&T Corp filed protests. A fourth losing bidder, Qwest Communications Corp., did not.
AT&T and Sprint withdrew their protests in May. In June, GAO threw out Global Crossing's protest, finding the company to be a 'nonresponsible' contender for the contract because of its financial problems.
When news surfaced last month that WorldCom officials had not accounted for almost $4 billion in expenses, it opened the floodgates for a second round of protests.

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