Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Line Forms Behind the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight

No doubt, a whole slew of congressional committees and subcommittees will eventually pile on to that U.S. Embassy Kabul local guard force scandal. It pushes so many different buttons - government oversight, contracting, foreign affairs, overseas security, sexual harassment, even military affairs if you buy the premise that guarding U.S. embassies is a proper function of the military (I do not buy the premise) - that it has something for everyone.

It looks like the first committee out of the gate is the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, the same one that already held hearings on the State Department's contract with ArmorGroup North America (AGNA) back in June, 2009. Here's the letter the subcommittee Chair sent to Under Secretary for Management Kennedy yesterday.

Speaking of gates, this scandal needs a good '___Gate' name to get it truly spun up into a media circus. Yesterday's letter to SecState Clinton provides plenty of raw material to work with, like this:

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 drunken [sic] brawls, threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity…." (Attachment 2) Photograph after photograph shows guards—including supervisors—at parties in various stages of nudity, sometimes fondling each other.

I suppose that "Drunken-Groping-Naked-Gurkha-BrokenEnglish-Urinating-AbsentPost-UnderEquipped-Overworked-NeligentlySupervised-CongressMisleading-CornerCuttingContractor-Gate" is too long, but I'll keep working on it.

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