A Senate report released yesterday entitled "Inquiry into the Role and Oversight of Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan,” has drawn much media attention and public concern to the lack of oversight of private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Strikingly, the report found these contractors, such as ArmorGroup and EOD Technology, regularly employ security personnel to guard U.S. bases in Afghanistan with strong ties to the Taliban. Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, reported that “there is significant evidence that some security contractors even work against our coalition forces, creating the very threat that they are hired to combat.” In one recent incident, violent conflict erupted between the militias of two Taliban warlords hired to guard a large American airbase in western Afghanistan. In another incident, the US military bombed a house where Taliban leaders were meeting, and later discovered that the owner of the house, and the leader of the meeting, was an Afghan security contractor to the American military.
This is not the first incident of corruption and lack of oversight among military contractors, and ArmorGroup in particular. In August of this year KMB client James Gordon filed a whistleblower retaliation suit against ArmorGroup, which alleges that he was retaliated against for reporting numerous violations by Armorgroup at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan and Bahrain. These included the failure to adequately staff the Kabul embassy, the permission of visits by AGNA employees to brothels notorious for trafficking women, the purchase of counterfeit goods from a Lebanese company owned by the wife of AGNA’s Logistics Manager, and the attempted substitution of subpar Iraqi vehicles in place of the armored escort vehicles the company had promised to purchase to transport guards to and from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Creating a work environment in which concerned employees like Gordon can blow the whistle without fear of retaliation will be a critical step in addressing these discrepancies and shortcomings that are emerging.