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The GAO Transcripts: Part 4, A British PSC Viewpoint

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Here is another installment of the Government Accountability Office interview transcripts that were prepared pursuant to the July 2005 GAO report ""Rebuilding Iraq: Actions Needed To Improve Use of Private Security Providers."

This April 28, 2005 interview as conducted with an official of what is clearly a British private security contractor. It is not absolutely clear who the contractor is, although there are portions of the transcript where the magic redacting marker was not as thorough as it should have been and the last word "Group" of the company name appeared. That would suggest companies like Control Risk Group, Hart Group or even ArmorGroup.

The GAO report lists the names of the contractors it interviewed in its Appendix (p. 56) and ArmorGroup, Control Risk Group, and Hart Group are listed. As Hart Group previously had a contract to guard the Baghdad airport and was known to have hired many South Africans it seems a likely candidate. But, of course, I can't be sure. Control Risks Group also did airport security work and doubtlessly has also had South Africans working for it.

Standard disclaimer: I have put in ( _____ ) to reflect those words of phrases which have been blacked out in the transcript. I have also put in the underlining as it appeared in the original transcript. As in the transcript, I have left out letters from various words, even when it seems obvious what the word is.

Anyway, here is how one British PSC viewed life in the sandbox.

Prepared by: Carole Coffey Index Date Prepared: April 28, 2005 DOC Number: Type document number he Reviewed by: Steve Sternlieb DOC Library: Goal Job Code: 35051

Record of Interview

Title Interview With ____________
Purpose To obtain information r e ____________work in Iraq
Contact Method Face to Face
Contact Place ____________
____________
Contact Date April 8, 2005
Participants Steve Sternlieb Assistant Director, DCM
Carole Coffey, AIC DCM

Comments/Remarks:

Company Description and Security Overview

1. What contracts does ____________ have in Iraq?

• For confidentiality reasons, ____________ did not provide us with a complete list of the companies/organizations that employ them. However, they are employed by
________________________________________________ ____________ such as ____________
They also provide security to the U.S. Treasury in Iraq as subcontractor.

2. What types of security (convoy, personal security, facilities) does ____________ provide for contractors and government agencies in Iraq?

• The representatives of ____________ explained that they are risk management and consulting firm however; in Iraq provide the full range of security services to their clients to include personal security details, escort service etc. They generally do not provide convoy security but if a client needs such services they will subcontract the services and manage the subcontractor. For reconstruction contractors they will escort the clients to the work site, protect the work site and escort the clients back to their camp. While they generally do not provide static security the will provide guards if the security situation and the client require them.

Chain of Command and Military Interaction

1. Do any contracts require ____________ mployees to coordinate with the U.S. military? If contracts do require coordination, how does ____________ its employees
coordinate with the U.S. military? Has ____________ established any procedures for working with the military? Has the military established any procedures for working with PSCs that ____________ aware of?

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• ____________ has found that coordinating with the military can be a. mixed bag. Some U.S. units are very willing to establish a coordination relationship. Generally, when ____________ area manager arrives in a part of Iraq, he will make an effort .to meet with the commanders of the U.S. military in that part of the country. He will explain the company's mission, discuss operating procedures and try to obtain contact information for the unit. According to the ____________ sk representative, some times the U.S. military commanders are very cooperative and very willing to coordinate. Other times, the commanders have no interest in meeting with the ____________ epresentatives and have no interest in coordinating or working with PSCs. According to the
representative, the type of relationship depends on the personality of both the commander and the PSC representative. He noted that there was a great deal of coordination with the U.S. military wher ____________ ovided security for the ICE program. Every time they moved currency they coordinated their routes with the military. The representative said that they also got a lot of security assistance from the military. For example, the military would provide "top cover" (air escorts) and military patrols would go out before the money rnoved and clear the roads they would have military escorts.

Has ____________ its employees ever requested military aid or backup? If so, please explain the incident and its consequences. What was your opinion of the assistance provided to you by the military?

The military provided QRF assistance on several occasions, particularly during the ICE program. In addition, we have received medical assistance from the U.S. which been excellent. In response to my question, the ___________ representative said that it did not matter the nationality of the employee or on what contact he or she may be working on when medical assistance was needed it was always provided.

The PCO's ROC, Movement Coordination, and Communication

How does ____________ view the success of the PCO and the ROC? How could the PCO and ROC be improved?

The ROC has not had much on an impact on large security operations like ____________ have proved very helpful to smaller companies. ____________ the ROC to obtain information on the BIAP road.

Has ____________ utilized the CO website? If so, how helpful is the website?
• epresentatives expressed some concerns about the currency of the data on the web site as well as the accuracy.

Interaction with other Private Security Companies

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1. Does ____________ have interaction with other private security contractors? If so, please describe this interaction.

• __________ little interaction with other PSCs in Iraq.

Interaction with the Iraqi Government

Is ___________ registered with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Trade in Iraq? What has your company's experience been with the Iraqi Government?

4. ___________as registered with the MOT and MOT. Also ___________ a contract with the Iraqi government to provide security for BIAP and has had some problems getting paid by the Iraqi government.

Employees

1. How many U.S. citizens work for ___________ in Iraq? ___________ Group employs U.S. citizens in Iraq are any of them former U.S. military? If the company employs former U.S. military were these employees hired when they separated from military or did they work for other PSCs prior to joining ___________Group?

19 U.S. citizen employees presently; their western ex pats generally come from former commonwealth countries (South Africa, Australia) and from Britain. Their 3rd country nationals (TCNS) come from Nepal, Fiji, and Sri Lanka. Also, we hire Iraqis as
well

2, What are the employment arrangements for individuals working in Iraq for ___________ Are they company employees or are they independent sub-contractors? _________________________________

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Legal Issues Related to Working in Iraq

1. What is the legal status of ___________ mployees working in Iraq? Do you have any concerns regarding issues of immunity from Iraqi law?
• ___________did that ___________as some concerns regarding immunity from prosecution should something happen while their employees were acting within the scope of the contract. For example, if someone died in a traffic accident. They are very uncomfortable regarding the immunity issue and believe it needs to be resolved now.

Are you aware of the Military Extraterritorial jurisdiction Act (MEJA) and its possible ramifications for your employees (U.S. citizens and otherwise)? Did anyone provide you with information on MEJA? Do you have any concerns regarding MEJA or the application of other U.S. or international laws to your employees?

• ___________as unaware of MEJA and had not received a briefing on it from there DOD contracting officer.

3. Have any of your employees been accused of committing any crimes while in Iraq? If so, were the incidents investigated by either Iraqi or U.S. authorities? How ___________deal with the accusations? What, if any legal steps were taken relating to these accusations, and by whom?

No one employed by ___________ been accused of committing any serious crime while in Iraq. However, said that the company is not sure who would have jurisdiction if a crime was committed.

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