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Schakowsky, Sanders Push Anti-Security Contractor Bill

In advance of this morning’s big Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Blackwater in Afghanistan, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) wrote a diary for the Seminal on Firedoglake pushing a bill to restrict private security companies from performing inherently-governmental security functions:

As of mid-2009, the United States employed over 22,000 hired guns in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that number keeps going up. Our reliance on private, for-profit companies for the business of waging war is extremely dangerous. It’s time we move to eliminate the use of these unaccountable and controversial mercenaries, and I ask you to join me as a citizen co-sponsor of legislation that I have just re-introduced, the Stop Outsourcing Our Security Act.

The Stop Outsourcing Security Act, which will be introduced in the Senate by Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, recognizes that the U.S. needs to end its reliance on private security contractors, and it would prohibit the use of private contractors for military, security, law enforcement, intelligence, and armed rescue functions. It would also increase transparency over any remaining contracts by increasing reporting requirements and Congressional oversight.

In the interest of providing the other side of the issue, John Nagl and Richard Fontaine of the Center for a New American Security recently wrote that the first-order priority for any reorganization of the U.S. reliance on security contractors has to be for a determination of which security, intelligence and law-enforcement functions are inherently governmental ones. Also, full disclosure: FDL hosts my personal blog.

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