McCaskill Demands Answers on Kabul Embassy Security After Inconsistencies in Testimony from State Department Official


McCaskill Demands Answers on Kabul Embassy Security After Inconsistencies in Testimony from State Department Official

Senator requests details on attacks described by Patrick Kennedy and assurances that embassy safety was ‘well-managed’ and ‘effective’

WASHINGTON – After a recent Senate hearing that examined the security situation at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has written to State Department official Patrick Kennedy to request clarification on two attacks that he says were successfully repelled by the firm contracted to provide Embassy security.

“I request that you provide a detailed explanation of any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in the testimony you gave to the Subcommittee or in information previously provided to the Subcommittee related to the security of the Embassy,” McCaskill’s letter reads.

At a July 16 hearing, Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy testified that, “There have been two direct attacks on our embassy compound in Kabul during the tenure of this current contractor. Both of those attacks were rebuffed and the contractor, along with the diplomatic security colleagues there performed superbly.” However, a subsequent report released by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) could not identify any evidence of the two attacks on the embassy compound Kennedy referenced.

At the same hearing, in response to questions regarding the security of the Kabul Embassy, Kennedy testified that, “Currently in Kabul, we have a well-managed, effectively functioning contract that provides security to protect our people and facilities.” According to documents obtained by POGO, the contractor has not been able to provide the minimum number of guards and other personnel required under the contract.

“We need to take a very hard look at who’s providing security at high-risk embassies and whether we should continue to contract out these functions, or have them performed by the United States military or diplomatic security,” McCaskill, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight, said today. “It’s unclear to me whether these contracts save money, and even if they do, whether those savings are ultimately at the expense of the security of American personnel.”

In 2009, McCaskill’s Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight held a hearing on security contracts at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which revealed that the State Department had found that deficiencies by the contractor, ArmorGroup, had “endanger[ed] performance of the contract to such a degree that the security of the US Embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy.”

New requirements included in the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act as part of McCaskill’s Comprehensive Wartime Contracting Reform legislation now require the State Department, Defense Department, and USAID to conduct risk analyses for the use of private security contractors in contingencies and to develop risk mitigation plans to eliminate such risks where identified.

A copy of McCaskill’s letter is available online, HERE.

Click HERE to read more about McCaskill’s fight to strengthen accountability in Washington.

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