NEWS

Who Will Guard the Guards? More Guards

By Matthew Harwood

After scandalous allegations of booze-soaked hazing among private security guards at the U.S. Embassy Kabul, the State Department has answered Roman poet Juvenal's famous question, "Who will guard the guards themselves?"

According to the Associated Press, the State Department has assigned diplomatic security staff to watch over the ArmorGroup North America (AGNA) private security contractors hired to protect the embassy, diplomats, and staff from attack.

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry held a meeting with embassy staff on Thursday to discuss the situation, said embassy spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

"We've already started to make changes to remedy some of the problems," Hayden said.

Alcohol has been prohibited at Camp Sullivan — the offsite location where ArmorGroup guards live — and diplomatic security staff have been assigned to the camp, the embassy said.

In related news, the Project on Government Oversight, a government watchdog that broke the story this week, made a new allegation today that one of the AGNA employees that came forward to report guard misconduct has been forced out of the company.

One of the whistleblowers who helped expose the guard scandal at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul has just been forced to resign after his company—whose client is ArmorGroup, North America (AGNA)—came to believe that he had reached out to D.C. for assistance. The company told POGO that the whistleblower’s resignation was voluntary.

However, information obtained by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) strongly suggests he was pressured into resigning to avoid being fired, an action often referred to as constructive dismissal.

POGO is deeply concerned about the action allegedly taken against the whistleblower. He is being forced out at a time when three of the supervisors responsible for allowing the misconduct at Camp Sullivan have been allowed to quietly resign and escape accountability. As per our letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of September 1, 2009, POGO calls on the State Department to take immediate action to protect both the physical and employment security of whistleblowers who have stepped forward with allegations of serious misconduct involving ArmorGroup, North America and others.

AGNA is owned by Wackenhut Services, Inc., of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.


Photo by tabounds/Flickr

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