Lieberman Staffer: We Absolutely Told State About ArmorGroup Whistleblower

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Friday, September 11, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Despite the State Department’s insistence that staffers for Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on the Senate government affairs committee didn’t turn over information about its buck-wild contractor ArmorGroup from whistleblower John Gorman, Lieberman’s staff isn’t backing off the claim. “The Senator’s staff verbally conveyed the information it received from Mr. Gorman to the State Department Inspector’s General staff,” reiterates Leslie Philips, the committee’s communications director.

Phillips elaborates further:

Concerns about this contract had been raised long before the meeting [between Gorman, other whistleblowers, and the staff, which occurred November 7, 2007], and the State Department was communicating its concerns to the contractor. The concerns dealt with issues such as the inadequate number of guards at the embassy, high turnover among guards, and the guards’ inadequate English-speaking abilities. None of the concerns involved the sexual malfeasance and other inappropriate behavior that has most recently been reported.

Interestingly, I now notice that State said it got no “letters” from Lieberman’s people, which might be how the inspector general’s office is trying to thread its denial of knowledge about ArmorGroup without technically calling out Lieberman, since, as Phillips said, staffers “verbally” conveyed Gorman’s information to the inspector general’s staff. But since the State statement said it had “no record of these allegations,” the (possible) distinction kind of collapses.

Phillips adds, “Although steps were taken to address problems with this contract as early as the summer of 2007, Senator Lieberman is frustrated the problems have dragged on so long.” And that’s rather generous to State, who re-awarded ArmorGroup the contract despite reprimanding the company repeatedly. State doesn’t seem willing to reciprocate.

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