State Fires ArmorGroup, But More Needs to Be Done
While I was covering the McChrystal/Eikenberry hearings, the State Department finally fired ArmorGroup, the private security company hired to protect the U.S. embassy in Kabul. That company, as you may recall, liked to perform other duties as well, like physical and sexual harassment; not hiring more expensive guards who, you know, speak English; and the occasional bout of prostitution and whistleblower-reprisal. But celebrating the end of ArmorGroup’s contract may be premature.
Recall that ArmorGroup’s predecessor on the so-called static security contract, MZM, was fired for exhibiting nearly the same lassitude that ArmorGroup promptly exhibited. Whistleblowers subsequently alleged that the exact same Gurkha guards whose lack of English proficiency helped cost MZM its contract were hired by ArmorGroup in order to avoid paying higher wages to guards who could clearly communicate with U.S. officials at the embassy. So before anyone goes about cheering ArmorGroup’s departure, it’s important to determine that the State Department will take concrete steps to ensure these problems won’t recur with whatever company gets the contract next.
This was never about ArmorGroup. It’s about the State Department’s lax oversight of its security contracts.