HARRISBURG — The former Special Forces colonel who has headed the state Office of Homeland Security for four years and who now finds himself at the center of a firestorm over an anti-terrorism contract is missing in action.
James F. Powers Jr. has basically gone underground since Tuesday, when Gov. Ed Rendell denounced a $103,000 no-bid contract that Mr. Powers had given to the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, which has offices in Philadelphia and Israel.
Mr. Powers, who makes $106,602 a year, hasn’t been returning phone calls from the news media this week and was said to be out of his office when a reporter stopped in on Wednesday. He did not return a call to his home and his office turned down a request to interview him.
Mr. Powers, who lives in Carlisle, served in the Army from 1971 to 2001 in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Korea and Washington.
The Rendell administration chose him in June 2006 to direct the state Office of Homeland Security, part of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
Before joining the state Mr. Powers had several jobs, including a “special operations” consultant for KWG Consulting in Virginia, an adjunct instructor for the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle and a senior fellow with the U.S. Special Operations Command in Hurlburt, Fla.