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A “Mutiny” in Kabul: Guards Allege Security Problems Have Put Embassy at Risk

Adam Zagorin – (POGO) – January 17, 2013 – Private guards responsible for protecting what may be the most at-risk U.S. diplomatic mission in the world — the embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan — say security weaknesses have left it dangerously vulnerable to attack.

In interviews and written communications with the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), current and former guards said a variety of shortcomings, from inadequate weapons training to an overextended guard force, have compromised security there — security provided under a half-a-billion-dollar contract with Aegis Defense Services, the U.S. subsidiary of a British firm. “[I]f we ever got seriously hit [by terrorists], there is no doubt in my mind the guard force here would not be able to handle it, and mass casualties and mayhem would ensue,” a guard serving at the embassy wrote in a late November message to POGO.

“[I]f we ever got seriously hit [by terrorists], there is no doubt in my mind the guard force here would not be able to handle it, and mass casualties and mayhem would ensue.”

In July, dissatisfaction boiled over when more than 40 members of the embassy’s Emergency Response Team signed a petition Read the remainder of this entry »

Firefighters Say They Were Stiffed in Iraq

Ryan Abbott – (Courthouse News) – WASHINGTON – December 8, 2011 – In a federal class action, 28 firefighters say Wackenhut, KBR and Halliburton forced them to work around the clock in Afghanistan and Iraq but paid them for only half their time, and responded to requests for fair pay with “shorthand threats to fire” them, such as “‘chicken or beef,’ which referred to the dining choices one had on the flight home from Iraq.”
     
The firefighters sued the contractors for fraud, conspiracy and breach of contract.
     
“This complaint alleges actions and omissions of defendants, in conspiracy with each other, and individually, done to defeat the right of American citizens to receive their lawful wages required by government contracts – including in-country pay, danger pay, on-call pay, up-lift pay, overtime, and other benefits and compensation,” the complaint states.
     
Read the remainder of this entry »

Vodka butt-shot contractor ArmorGroup settles with DoJ, how they will celebrate?

Armor Group North America and Its Affiliates Pay $7.5 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

A spokeswoman for watchdog group POGO said hazing at a camp for security guards went "well beyond partying."

(DoJ) – WASHINGTON – July 7, 2011 – Armor Group North America Inc. (AGNA) and its affiliates have paid the United States $7.5 million to resolve allegations that AGNA submitted false claims for payment on a State Department contract to provide armed guard services at the U.S.   Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Justice Department announced today. The settlement resolves U.S. claims that in 2007 and 2008, AGNA guards violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) by visiting brothels in Kabul, and that AGNA’s management knew about the guards’ activities. The settlement also resolves allegations that AGNA misrepresented the prior work experience of 38 third country national guards it had hired to guard the Embassy, and that AGNA failed to comply with certain Foreign Ownership, Control and Influence mitigation requirements on the embassy contract, and on a separate contract to provide guard services at a Naval Support Facility in Bahrain.  

The settlement resolves a whistleblower suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.   The lawsuit was initially filed under seal by James Gordon against AGNA, ArmorGroup International plc, G4S plc and Wackenhut Services Inc. under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals, called “relators”, to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds of a settlement or judgment awarded against a defendant.   Mr. Gordon will receive $1.35 million of the settlement proceeds.   During 2007 and early 2008, Mr. Gordon was employed by AGNA, as its director of operations.  

Read the remainder of this entry »

Stolen KBR laptop “may have” contained employee and contractor personal info

Thanks to the “Office Of Inadequate Security” for staying on top of these issues.

A stolen laptop with employee and contractor information belonging to Houston-based engineering and construction firm KBR was reported to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office on January 21.

The date of theft was not mentioned, nor were the total number of individuals who had their names, dates of birth, addresses, Social Security Numbers and Employee ID numbers on the laptop, although the notification indicated that the laptop “may have contained” personal information of “some current and former” employees and contractors.  Why do they write “may have?” Don’t they know what was on their own company laptop?

Ten of those affected were New Hampshire residents.

The notification doesn’t even indicate how or where or when the laptop was stolen, saying only that the company had “recently learned” of the theft and the theft had been reported to law enforcement.

This is why we need a mandatory notification law that includes specific elements, folks.

KBR’s letter to affected employees and contractors does not offer them any free services such as credit monitoring.

According to the company’s profile on its web site, KBR has more than 40,000 employees in 45 countries on five continents. (click HERE for the original post)

Keep in mind, if you’re like me and have moved and/or changed your email address since you worked for KBR, they may not have your current contact information and you may not have been notified. I have to ask, why is personal employee information on a laptop? Why isn’t it secured on a company server?

December 2010 we blogged about a stolen Wackenhut laptop  with personal employee information on it and last year we blogged about SBH’s distribution of 269 employee names and social security numbers.

I have always been a proponent of credit monitoring and taking control of your credit reports. This is why and not knowing which current and former employees and contractors are affected I urge anyone who has worked for KBR in the past to get copies of their three credit reports, correct errors and monitor them closely.

Here’s some great identity theft information HERE.

Ms Sparky

Stolen hard drives put former Iraq firefighters at risk

On December 9, Wackenhut Services, LLC (WSLLC) President David W. Foley sent a letter to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office and informed them that:

On November 29, 2010, we discovered that certain hard drives shipped from our office in Iraq were stolen in transit to out US offices along with other office equipment. After investigation, on November 30, 2010 we determined, to the best of our knowledge, that the stolen hard drives contained personal information of certain of our past employees. Based on our investigation, we believe that the stolen hard drives contained the following unencrypted personal information of our past employees: (i) first and last names, (ii) social security numbers, (iii) passport numbers, (iv) last known home addresses and (v) date of birth and place of birth.

On December 13, 2010 WSLLC notified each of the affected personnel via the US Postal Service to inform them of the breach. They were offered a one year subscription to ConsumerInfo.com credit monitoring service and some advice on how to best protect their credit.

Wackenhut was the primary provider of fire protection services at FOB’s/COB’s in Iraq from 2004 until they lost the contract in Nov 2010. The loss of the contract would account for the reason the hard drives and office equipment was being shipped back to the states. That’s six years worth of employee information on those hard drives. We could easily be talking about 10,000 affected employees.

I’ve contacted WSLLC for answers to specific questions and asked if they would like to make a statement regarding this incident. As of the publishing of this post I have yet to received a response from them.

Wackenhut is not the first company to lose control of it’s employees personal information. A an employee of joint Venture Stanley Baker Hill (SBH) and DAAR published and distributed  the names and social security of 269 employees working in Iraq and elsewhere. SBH was the contractor awarded the task of electrical inspections in Iraq for Task Force SAFE. They have since been replaced Versar International Inc.. Many victims on this list were employees of the individual companies in Iraq and elsewhere and had no association with the SBH joint venture.  I believe the four individual companies of  Stanley Consutants, Michael Baker Corporation, Hill International,  or DAAR Engineering still have US Government contracts.  At the time of that posting SHB still had not officially notified everyone on the list. Many found out about the breach after reading the article on MsSparky.com. I do not believe SBH ever contacted any State Attorney General’s office.

If you have more information regarding the Wackenhut information breach, please us know.

Ms Sparky