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IG: Pentagon should track assault of contractors

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 12, 2010

IG report on sexual assault and military contractors

Pentagon to track assault of contractor employees

Kimberly Hefling AP WASHINGTON

The sexual assault of employees of U.S. military contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan will be tracked by the Pentagon under a system it is setting up.

The tracking will likely begin this year, Defense official Gail McGinn said in a memo to the Pentagon’s Inspector General included in a report released Friday.

The IG evaluation was initiated by a request from congressional members concerned that not enough protections were offered to U.S. contracting employees assaulted in the war zones. One of the most high profile cases was that of a Texas woman, Jamie Leigh Jones. Jones has sued Halliburton Co. and its former subsidiary KBR, saying she was gang raped while working for KBR in Iraq in 2005.

The IG also recommended the Pentagon develop plans to provide immediate help following assaults on contractor employees, which McGinn also said the Pentagon was developing plans to do.

The IG noted it found anecdotal evidence that contractors who reported being assaulted received medical and other assistance from military personnel.

It said from 2005 to 2007, the Military Criminal Investigative Organizations conducted 25 sexual assault investigations involving contractor personnel in the two war zones.

In about a third of those cases, contractor company officials reported the assault to DOD officials, but in the remaining cases the alleged victim notified law enforcement directly or the report came from someone else, the IG said.

In the Jones case, the companies said her contract required claims against them be settled through arbitration. In September, an appeals court ruled Jones’ claims can go to trial, and a trial date has been set in federal court in February 2011.

The Associated Press typically does not identify people alleging sexual assault, but Jones’ face and name have been broadcast in media reports and on her own Web site

See also

Franken Ammendment

Rape Hazing Harrassment

Posted in AIG and CNA, Department of Labor, Exclusive Remedy, KBR | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pentagon’s IG to Examine AIG Insurance Provided to Private Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 21, 2009


Pentagon’s IG to Examine AIG Insurance Provided to Private Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica – May 21, 2009

The Defense Department’s inspector general [1] is preparing a possible audit to examine allegations that inadequate oversight by federal officials allowed AIG and other major carriers to deny medical benefits due civilian contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The examination, undertaken in response to a request [2] (PDF) by Sen. Bernie Sanders [3] (I-VT), comes after a joint investigation [4] by the Los Angeles Times, ABC News and ProPublica found that AIG and other carriers denied nearly half of claims for serious injuries to contractors working overseas.

“We are currently examining the information provided in your correspondence,” wrote John R. Crane, the assistant inspector general, in a letter to Sanders earlier this month [5] (PDF). “We will provide you the results of that examination and our course of action in the matter as soon as possible.”

IG officials met with Senate staff last week to hammer out details of the proposed audit, according to people familiar with the matter. “We’re in the preliminary stages. It’s fact-finding stuff,” said an IG official, who requested anonymity to speak freely.

At issue is a federally mandated system that requires government contractors to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for overseas civilians. AIG [6] is the largest provider of such insurance, which is required under a World War II-era law known as the Defense Base Act [7]. Taxpayers pay premiums for the insurance, which is included in the price of federal contracts.

So far, AIG and three other carriers have earned more than $1.5 billion in premiums while paying out only about $900 million in benefits, according to a congressional report [8] (PDF) last year — a far higher profit margin than workers’ compensation programs in the United States. AIG declined to comment.

One of the problems with the system, the joint investigation found, is that no single agency is responsible for overseeing it. The Labor Department administers payments made to contractors, but the Defense Department pays most of the premiums.

This bifurcation actually makes the acting Defense Department inspector general, Gordon Heddell [9], especially well qualified to look into the matter. While awaiting Senate confirmation, he’s still doing his old job: inspector general for the Labor Department [10].

The IG’s office joins the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee [11] and a panel [12] of the House Committee on Government and Oversight Reform in looking into the overall program. Earlier this month, the IG issued a report [13] (PDF) that found that military medical facilities were failing to recoup millions of dollars in costs from AIG and other carriers for care provided to injured contractors. So far, more than 1,400 contractors have died in Iraq, and another 31,000 have been injured.

A Hill staffer who has followed the issue said several agencies have indicated that the system has serious flaws. The Government Accountabilty Office [14] (PDF) and the Congressional Research Service [15] (PDF) have criticized the system, which has gone largely unchanged since the 1940s. “Everybody says this is broken,” the staffer said. “We need major changes to fix this.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

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