The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Contractors Gone Wild

These documents about the behavior of ArmorGroup, a security company hired by the State Department to protect the U.S. embassy in Kabul, have to be seen to be

Habiba Ashton
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Sep 02, 2009

These documents about the behavior of ArmorGroup, a security company hired by the State Department to protect the U.S. embassy in Kabul, have to be seen to be believed. The Project on Government Oversight released them in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Here’s a sample:

Numerous emails, photographs, and videos portray a Lord of the Flies environment. One email from a current guard describes scenes in which guards and supervisors are “peeing on people, eating potato chips out of [buttock] cracks, vodka shots out of [buttock] cracks (there is video of that one), broken doors after drnken [sic] brawls, threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity….” Photograph after photograph shows guards—including supervisors—at parties in various stages of nudity, sometimes fondling each other. These parties take place just a few yards from the housing of other supervisors.

Asked about ArmorGroup at a press briefing today, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said that Clinton would have “zero tolerance for the type of conduct that is alleged.” But when a reporter challenged Kelly over the fact that State has put ArmorGroup on notice about inappropriate behavior in Kabul since June 2007, this was his response:

We’ve been investigating this organization for some time now. We understand that we have made some – we have pointed out to them some of the deficiencies. And I can’t answer right now from this podium exactly what they have done in response to this letter.

It’s into this sort of oversight environment that Xe is looking to re-up its contracts with State to protect diplomats.

Habiba Ashton | BCS Growth Fund (Israel) L.P., a private investment fund specializing in investments in technologically focused businesses with high growth potential, employs Habiba as an analyst. Mrs. Ashton served as an analyst and information manager at the Israel International Fund, the first Israeli venture capital fund designed specifically for Japanese corporate investors, prior to joining BCS. Habiba graduated with honors from Israel's College of Management with a B.A. in Business Administration.

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