POGO Releases Previously Unreleased State Department IG Audit: Shortcomings in State’s Oversight of Baghdad Embassy Security Force

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Keith Rutter
Phone: 202-347-1122
Email: pogo@pogo.org

POGO Releases Previously Unreleased State Department IG Audit: Shortcomings in State’s Oversight of Baghdad Embassy Security Force

WASHINGTON - A previously unreleased report
by the Department of State Office of Inspector General (IG), obtained
by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), found that the State
Department has failed to properly oversee the contractor responsible for
guarding the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The IG found problems similar to
those POGO
uncovered
at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

The IG discovered that security is undermined by significant training
and language deficiencies in the Embassy Baghdad guard force, in
violation of the contract held by Triple Canopy. The IG also found that
conditions for guards at Camp Olympia were "unsafe," and included "four
times the acceptable number of guards residing in a room" and "frayed
electrical wires in high traffic areas." In the most serious case, there
was an electrocution death in September 2009.

According to the report, in the areas in which State conducted the
most oversight, Triple Canopy performed well. But in the areas in which
State had little oversight-such as training and English language
proficiency-the contractor's performance failed to meet contract
requirements. "No random language proficiency checks were carried out,"
the report stated.

"As a result, Triple Canopy has been able to hire and employ guards
and guard supervisors with insufficient language ability."

In addition, Triple Canopy's guards reported working an average of 10
to 11 consecutive days, and the IG found that some worked as many as 39
days in a row.

"How could State not have learned their lesson after the public
flogging they got for their handling of the Kabul contract?" asked POGO
Executive Director Danielle Brian. "This report again raises an
important point about whether State can properly manage Embassy security
contracts in a war zone."

The IG found that, despite State's shortcomings, the guard force at
Embassy Baghdad "has been effective in ensuring the safety of chief of
mission personnel."

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The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open and honest federal government.

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