(/sites/default/files/uploads/2013/06/hillary_clinton_benghazi.jpg)As a US Senator, Hillary Clinton sponsored legislation to ban the US State Department from hiring private security contractors in Iraq, but as Secretary of State, she ceded all security in the embassies in Baghdad and Kabul to the same private security contractors, and now one firm has been cited in an Inspector General report. The Office of Inspector General for the US State Department has concluded that improper protocols by the US State Department on Clinton’s watch allowed a private security firm to make the US State Department needlessly spend about $130 million.
The name of the company is Triple Canopy LLC. An Alter Net story from 2009 likened the relationship between President Obama and Triple Canopy to former President George W. Bush’s relationship to Blackwater:
On the campaign trail, Barack Obama’s advisers said he “can’t rule out [and] won’t rule out” using mercenary forces, like Blackwater. Now, it appears that the Obama administration has decided on its hired guns of choice: Triple Canopy, a Chicago company now based in Virginia. It may not have Blackwater’s thuggish reputation, but Triple Canopy has its own bloody history in Iraq and a record of hiring mercenaries from countries with atrocious human rights records. What’s more, Obama is not just using the company in Iraq, but also as a U.S.-government funded private security force in Israel/Palestine, operating out of Jerusalem.
In 2008, then-Senator Hillary Clinton boldly proclaimed that Triple Canopy, and all companies like it, should not get any more contracts with the US government and referred to private security firms as “mercenaries.” As Wired reported at the time:
Senator Hillary Clinton broke her longstanding silence on private security contractors in Iraq. Her senate office announced late Thursday that she is co-sponsoring a bill to ban “Blackwater and other private mercenary firms in Iraq.”
As Secretary of State, however, Hillary Clinton “evolved” on her view of private contractors.
According to a recently published report from the Office of Inspector General for the US State Department, Triple Canopy now provides the majority of embassy services, including all the security services, at the US embassies in Kabul and Baghdad. Triple Canopy is not the only private security firm to receive substantial business for numerous embassy services all over the world.
The report further found that because of inefficiencies caused by the US State Department not implementing proper protocols for catching bloated and inefficient bills by Triple Canopy, the US State Department spent about $130 million needlessly:
Contractor staffing requirements for the base year of WPS Task Order 5 exceeded the staffing needs for the Baghdad movement security mission. Specifically, for the Embassy program and the Airport option program combined, only 253 (49 percent) of the 513 contractor personnel provided were used, on average, to conduct daily movement security missions. The overstaffing occurred because DS did not conduct a needs analysis before awarding the task order and unnecessarily exercised the Airport option.
In addition, although the onsite COR, primary COR, and GTM were ensuring that Triple Canopy, Inc., generally complied with the contract terms and conditions, they did not review the contractor’s daily movement detail reports or adequately review the contractor’s muster sheets to assess security staffing needs against the movement security requirements. As a result, the Department paid $20.6 million during the base year to retain, for the Airport option program, 84 contractor security personnel who were not needed. In addition, the Department paid approximately $111.8 million for 429 Embassy program security personnel who were not part of the Airport option. OIG determined that the Department still would have used only about 253 (59 percent) of the 429 movement personnel provided by the contractor without additional Airport option personnel to conduct daily.
The security budget for all embassies around the world is about $2 billion yearly.
While Triple Canopy hasn’t received as much publicity as Blackwater did during the Bush administration, it has been the subject of a number of controversial incidents during the course of its duties in fulfilling contracts with the US government. This report from Gawker from 2011 likened Triple Canopy to a poor man’s version of Blackwater.
They come from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which was charged with overseeing and monitoring the contractors hired by State to secure its diplomats and other VIPs in the war zone. While firms like DynCorp and Triple Canopy make frequent appearances, the reports are dominated by Blackwater, which was paid roughly $1 billion between 2004 and 2009 to provide “worldwide protective services” for State Department personnel.
Triple Canopy has also been accused of hiring former Blackwater employees into their embassy operations in Baghdad. As the report pointed out:
“There are many former Blackwater employees at other private security companies in Iraq, most notably Triple Canopy and DynCorp, providing security services to us,” said a January 4, 2010 cable from the US embassy in Baghdad, which was released on August 30.
Furthermore, this latest OIG report is only the latest in which Triple Canopy has been accused of overbilling. In October 2012, the US Justice Department filed suit against Triple Canopy for submitting false claims and providing unqualified security guards for their mission in Baghdad.
Triple Canopy did not return an email from Front Page Magazine for comment for this story.
It’s important to note that then-Secretary Clinton claimed that she left the security details to the security professionals in the case of the Benghazi, Libya consulate that was attack on the anniversary on 9⁄11. The “security professionals” in question were in fact part of a hired Libyan militia group with known ties to Islamic jihadists.
There have also been a series of reports of the State Department allowing embassies to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create fleets of alternative energy vehicles. This story from March 2013 talks about a $140 million, environment friendly embassy in Mauritania.
Most shockingly, the US State Department spent $70,000 in Pakistan in September 2012, denouncing the so-called anti-Muhammad video that the administration initially claimed was the culprit for the attacks in Benghazi.
Taken together, it becomes clear that priorities for US embassies all around the world under Hillary Clinton emphasized frivolous things, all while downplaying the importance of efficiency and security.
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