ArmorGroup’s Afghan Shenanigans Detailed in State Dept. Watchdog Report
October 28, 2010
A new report by the State Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) confirms and expands upon numerous problems identified by POGO in a September 1, 2009, letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The OIG report evaluated the performance of ArmorGroup North America (ArmorGroup), the contractor responsible for guarding the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. ArmorGroup’s contract expired on June 30, 2010 and EOD Technology, Inc. (EODT) was selected to take over. ArmorGroup will continue to guard the Embassy through the end of 2010.
Some of the new revelations in the State OIG report include:
- AGNA employed, and the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security failed to scrutinize, “Nepalese guards without verifiable experience, training, or background investigations in violation of its contract.”
- “AGNA cannot account for 101 U.S. Government-furnished weapons that have been missing since 2007. AGNA used U.S. Government-furnished weapons for training rather than required contractor-furnished weapons.”
- “AGNA regularly allows individuals who are not vetted by Embassy Kabul’s regional security office unescorted access to Camp Sullivan, a U.S. Government-owned camp containing sensitive materials.”
“This report offers more proof that the State Department is either lacking the will or the capacity to keep its contractors in line,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. POGO investigator Jake Wiens questioned the timing of the report, asking, “Why did this report come so late in the game? It would have been more relevant had it come before the decision to remove ArmorGroup was made.”
POGO’s letter garnered international media attention in part because of a number of pictures which documented ArmorGroup guards behaving in a lewd and obscene manner. But the letter was predominately focused on woefully inadequate oversight of the contract by the State Department and the resulting deficiencies in ArmorGroup’s performance, many of which threatened the safety of the Embassy and its personnel.
A separate report by the Senate Armed Services Committee recently raised concerns about both ArmorGroup and EODT, the contractor that will soon be responsible for guarding the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The report detailed how a Taliban-linked warlord “appears to have been successful in placing men fired by ArmorGroup onto EODT’s contract” in western Afghanistan. That finding raises concerns that EODT may be even worse than ArmorGroup in terms of properly vetting their staff.
In June testimony before the Commission on Wartime Contracting, Ms. Brian questioned the outsourcing of security functions in war zones.
Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.
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