Official Says Contractor in Kabul May Be Ousted
By GINGER THOMPSON, New York Times, September 15, 2009
WASHINGTON — The State Department official responsible for overseeing private contracts said Monday that the government was seriously considering terminating its $189 million arrangement with ArmorGroup North America because of recent disclosures of misbehavior by guards at the United States Embassy in Afghanistan.
At a hearing before a federal commission investigating wartime spending, Patrick F. Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management, said ArmorGroup managers had failed to notify the government about parties in which drunken, half-naked guards had urinated on and groped one another.
In response to commission members’ demands that the company be held accountable, Mr. Kennedy said, “We are seeing a very, very serious case being made for termination.”
Mr. Kennedy spoke at a hearing of the independent Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan that was scheduled after a nonprofit oversight group released photographs two weeks ago of the ArmorGroup bacchanals. Those photos led to a State Department investigation and the firing of several ArmorGroup managers.
“It’s a no-brainer — that conduct was appalling,” Mr. Kennedy said. “And the failure on the part of the ArmorGroup managers to stop it caused us to ask for their removal.”
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