POGO Blasts State Department Over ArmorGroup Oversight Before Wartime Contracting Commission
The congressionally chartered commission on wartime contracting is meeting today, and one of its witnesses is Danielle Brian, the Project on Government Oversight executive director who blew the lid off of ArmorGroup’s failures in protecting the U.S. embassy in Kabul. In her prepared testimony, she excoriates the State Department for its laxity in overseeing its contract with ArmorGroup, and accuses the department of misleadingly assuring the public that the embassy is well protected:
Infuriatingly, in response to the recent revelations, the State Department has repeated baseless statements that “at no time was security jeopardized.” Based on what facts can they possibly make those assurances? Four times between June 2007 and March 2009, the State Department itself told ArmorGroup that the inadequate number of guards put “security in jeopardy,” “negatively impacted the security posture,” caused “serious” and “grave concerns,” and “gravely endangers the performance of guard services.” NOTHING has changed since those statements were made. Yet the State Department is now assuring the Congress and the Wartime Commission that security at the Embassy is sound? I have last week’s shift schedule. I know they are still operating on a schedule that their own commander described as unsustainable and causing sleep deprivation. These public assurances by State are not supported in fact, and make clear the Department does not yet recognize its own role in this public policy failure.
Brian might also have added the inspector general office’s insistence that it didn’t receive whistleblower information in 2007 that Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) office insists on the record that it gave to the IG.
Also note that Brian says that her organization has learned State plans to “transition security of the U.S. Embassy Kabul from ArmorGroup to trained Afghan nationals over the next three years.” That sounds like ArmorGroup is losing its contract.