GAO rejects request to partially dismiss HSPD-12 protests

The Government Accountability Office has rejected a request by the General Services Administration to partially dismiss a protest of its contested contract with BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va., for Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 solutions.

In its Sept. 14 decision, GAO said it will continue its analysis of the BearingPoint protests in their entirety.

"We deny the agency's request for partial dismissal," GAO said.

GSA sought partial dismissal Sept. 13, after Xtec Inc. of Miami and EDS Corp. filed protestswith the congressional watchdogs shortly after the agency awarded BearingPoint a $104 million contract to offer HSPD-12 services. Another company, Lockheed Martin Corp., filed a protest directly with GSA.

Under the deal, BearingPoint will help GSA's HSPD-12 Managed Services Office begin issuing Personal Identity Verification cards for customer agencies by Oct. 27.

Among other things, the companies claim that GSA arbitrarily decided to make only one award for the HSPD-12 solution, instead of multiple awards.

GSA, in a Sept. 13 request, asked GAO to dismiss that aspect of the Xtec protest, claiming that it is untimely and irrelevant, because the solicitation made clear that GSA reserved the right to make only a single award.

This argument did not sway GAO, which ruled that Xtec is not so much challenging the single award, but rather GSA's determination that a single contract was justified on grounds of economy.

Lawyers familiar with the case said even if GAO had agreed to remove this aspect of the case, the watchdog group would continue investigating other charges in the protest, which have not been made public.

Rob Thormeyer is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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