The military's top-secret research agency threw millions of dollars at a bomb-detection system that worked no better than a coin toss, according to military sources. Sounds like your typical defense boondoggle...but as Wired's Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman reported this morning, there's an added layer of intrigue to this debacle at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA):
By itself, the washout wouldn't be terribly remarkable. Darpa's charter is to try out risky technologies, many of which don't pan out. It's that dedication to high-risk, high-reward projects that leads to breakthroughs like GPS and the internet. But these contracts were given to RedX Defense, a company partially owned by outgoing Darpa director Regina Dugan and led by Dugan's family.