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Private Security Contractors Gone Wild in Afghanistan

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got a letter on Tuesday from Project on Government Oversight (POGO), and I’m sure she didn’t like what she saw. It was reported that private security contractors ArmorGroup North America guarding the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, have been behaving not like professionals responsible for keeping American government workers safe, but like crazed frat boys on a particularly debaucherous Spring break.

What have they been up to? According to the letter, "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 brawls, threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity."

Apparently, this has been going on under the not-so-watchful eye of supervisors, creating a kind of hazing environment that has caused many incoming guards to leave within a year of arriving. Some guards claimed that they actually had to barricade themselves in their rooms because they were afraid that if they didn’t participate in this depraved bacchanal, they would be physically harmed.


This would be unacceptable behavior coming from adults at a frat house, but not only is ArmorGroup North America funded by taxpayers (to the tune of $189 million a year!), but they're also in charge of safeguarding the lives of hundreds of diplomats and other officials who work in the embassy. A representative for the security contractors testified before Congress and said ArmorGroup has been fully staffed since January 2009, but a POGO rep says that they’re chronically understaffed, overworked, and now that these allegations are out — subject to hazing abuse.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly had this to say about the shocking news and graphic pictures (NSFW): "These are very serious allegations and we are treating them that way," adding that the State Department has "zero tolerance for the type of conduct that is alleged in these documents."


Join The Conversation
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
"people were forced to participate or watch to keep their jobs" I meant to mention that as well but obviously I do not condone (forced) behavior. But yes as long as it's consensual behavior the stupid pranks and games don't bother me.
Briandiesel Briandiesel 7 years
Yah it just looks like a bunch of bored frat guys to me. I'm not surprised they have to let loose from time to time, but destruction of property and stuff is just not cool
cko444 cko444 7 years
hypnoticmix, I would argue that the "frat party tricks" do hurt lots of people. It's not about the nudity or drinking, or even the genders of the people involved, it's about coercion. To the extent that people were forced to participate or watch to keep their jobs, that's sexual harassment and just plain wrong. Particularly with respect to some of the Afghan hires who hold deep religious and cultural convictions. Really, anyone in any sort of law enforcement position should be appalled by the lack of respect for leadership (well, here it sounds like the leadership itself was effed up) and the rights of others. Bottom line - this is coercion, it demoralizes the staff, and without question detracts from the mission of keeping the US embassy safe. Sad but not surprising that this is coming from a division of Wackenhut (which has been the subject of many scandals relating to its management of private prisions here in the US, particuarly women's prisons). See also Blackwater.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I can understand how the structured prolonged stressful environment would inspire some people to act at least for a moment like they don't give a F about anything but when it reaches the point of violent acts and property damage that obviously crosses the line. I can care less about the stupid so called frat party tricks like eating chips out of some one's ass because that doesn't hurt any one or any thing. It always has to be the bozos that take it too far to ruin the fun. Well party's over boys.
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