FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sarah Feldman (print) or Anamarie Rebori (broadcast) – 202-228-6263
McCaskill ‘Troubled’ by State Department Embassy Security Report
Senator reacts to independent watchdog report detailing significant lapses in embassy security, personnel vetting
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today pledged to continue her push to better protect America’s embassies and diplomatic personnel after a State Department Inspector General’s (IG) report detailed significant lapses in oversight of the local embassy guard vetting process that put U.S. embassies and personnel at risk.
“At a time when our high-risk embassies and diplomatic personnel must be more vigilant than ever, I’m very troubled by the Inspector General’s findings that these facilities were put at risk by poor vetting and inadequate oversight,” said McCaskill, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight. “These lapses are unacceptable, and it’s my hope that this report forces the State Department to take a very hard look at who we should be allowing to protect these facilities and the men and women who work there—and whether that job can’t be done more safely and effectively by diplomatic security or the U.S. military.”
The IG’s report found that none of the security contracts it reviewed fully followed the vetting requirements for local embassy guards—and that this inadequate oversight placed embassies and personnel at risk. Security contractors charged with vetting local guards did not maintain complete personnel files for those guards. The IG also found three of the six contracts it reviewed did not complete the vetting process for local guards prior to placing them on duty at embassies, and that one security contractor at an embassy had not been paying the local guards in accordance with the contract terms.
McCaskill previously held a hearing on security contracts at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which revealed that the State Department had found deficiencies by its contractor that put the embassy’s security in jeopardy. Following that hearing, McCaskill introduced the Enhancing Oversight and Security at United States Missions Act, that would require the Departments of State and Defense to create concrete plans to increase oversight of private security contractors, as well as to improve training standards and to set a more appropriate ratio of United States government security personnel to private security contractors.