A major Defense Department healthcare information technology contractor was awarded a contract worth up to $100 million to plant pro-U.S. propaganda with foreign news media without disclosing that the source is the U.S. government, according to USA Today. Science Applications International Corp., or SAIC, of San Diego, Calif., is a Fortune 500 company and one of the nation's largest defense and intelligence agency contractors with nearly $7.2 billion in revenue in fiscal 2005. In 1988, it was awarded a $1.01 billion, eight-year contract to modify the clinical information technology system developed by the Veterans Affairs Administration for use at Defense Department healthcare sites.
Its product, the Consolidated Health Care System, or CHCS I, is still in use in throughout the Military Health System, which operates 70 hospitals across the country and runs a network that provides care to 9.2 million active members of the armed forces and their families. SAIC retains a support contract on CHCS I. According to articles appearing in the newspaper Tuesday and Wednesday, SAIC was one of three firms awarded similar, five-year contracts of up $20 million per year as part of a media campaign run by Pentagon psychological warfare experts at the U.S. Special Operations Command.
A person who identified himself as Tom Hampton in the public affairs office of SAIC in San Diego asked that any questions about the media contracts be submitted to the company in writing by e-mail. There was no response to those questions by deadline. Read more (registration may be required).