Workers from U.S. private contractors, such as Wackenhut, have been acting like immature idiots in Afghanistan. I can't think of anything more despicable. Here we are trying to win "hearts and minds" in Afghanistan and these people, who are supposed to be keeping the troops secure, are hazing each other like frat boys. It's disgusting that the private contractors put up with this crap. Hillary Clinton says she will be changing the boy behavior:
Some private security guards hired to protect the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan say their contractor has allowed widespread mistreatment, sexual activity and intimidation within their ranks, according to the watchdog group Project On Government Oversight (POGO).Here is POGO's letter to Hillary:
A spokeswoman for watchdog group POGO said hazing at a camp for security guards went "well beyond partying."
The group sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, and briefed reporters on its findings, which it said are based on e-mails and interviews with more than a dozen guards who have worked at the U.S. compound in Kabul.
The company, ArmorGroup, North America, has a security contract with the State Department to provide services through July, 2010, and has been cited several times for shortcomings in the security required by the contract.
A U.S. Senate panel two months ago was critical of the State Department for not closely supervising ArmorGroup, after a series of warning letters from the State Department in the year leading up to the panel's inquiry.
When CNN contacted Wackenhut, the corporate parent of ArmorGroup, a spokesperson there said the company would have a response Wednesday. More at CNN
September 1, 2009Read more about POGO here.
The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary, Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton:
As you know, last month eight rockets were fired into Kabul, two landing near the U.S. Embassy.1 Not long after, at least seven people were killed and 91 wounded, including children, when a suicide bomber struck close to the Embassy. Following the second attack, a Taliban spokesman declared that the target had been the U.S. Embassy itself. 2 In response to these and other incidents, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen conceded that the situation in Afghanistan is "serious and it is deteriorating."3
In light of this increasingly violent and uncertain environment, effective security of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and the nearly one thousand U.S. diplomats, staff, and Afghan nationals who work there 4 is paramount. Security for the Embassy is provided under a Department of State contract with ArmorGroup, North America (AGNA), which is now owned by Wackenhut Services, Inc. (Wackenhut).5 Some 450 guards and their supervisors protect the Embassy and are quartered at Camp Sullivan, a few miles from the Embassy.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) initiated an investigation after nearly one-tenth of the U.S./ex-pat 6 guards individually contacted us to express concerns about and provide evidence of a pattern of blatant, longstanding violations of the security contract, and of a pervasive breakdown in the chain of command and guard force discipline and morale. This environment has resulted in chronic turnover by U.S./ex-pat guards. According to the State Department, "nearly 90% of the incumbent US/Expats left within the first six months of contract performance."7 According to POGO sources, the U.S./ex-pat guard turnover may be as high as 100 percent annually. This untenable turnover prevents the guard force from developing team cohesion, and requires constant training for new replacement recruits. The guards have come to POGO because they say they believe strongly in the mission, but are concerned that many good guards are quitting out of frustration or being fired for refusing to participate in the misconduct, and that those responsible for the misconduct are not being held accountable.
After extensive interviews with eyewitnesses, and examination of documents, photographs, videos, and emails, POGO believes that the management of the contract to protect the U.S. Embassy Kabul is grossly deficient, posing a significant threat to the security of the Embassy and its personnel—and thereby to the diplomatic mission in Afghanistan. Read the rest
Morning Joe talks about the hazing antics and getting out of Afghanistan. Here's a plan for Afghanistan, set a near-term deadline and if things aren't improved, get out. I've been on the fence on Afghanistan, now I'm for getting out. We've made too much mess. We have no answers for anyone. We don't even have answers for ourselves.