U.S. Senators Daniel K. Akaka, Barack Obama, and Jon Tester sent letters to the Attorney General, and the Inspector Generals of the Defense and State Departments, seeking information about their apparent failure to investigate allegations made by former Halliburton/KBR administrative assistant Jamie Leigh Jones that she was drugged and raped by several co-workers while employed at Camp Hope in Baghdad, Iraq.
The alleged assault occurred in July 2005, three days after KBR had transferred Ms. Jones to work in Iraq. Ms. Jones was treated at a U.S. Army Hospital in Iraq after reporting that she was raped. According to recent news reports, no criminal charges have been filed in the matter and reporters have been unable to confirm that any federal agency is investigating.
Senator Akaka said, "It has been more than two years since Ms. Jones reported that she was drugged and raped. Ms. Jones' allegations are extremely disturbing, yet it seems that KBR, the Defense Department, and the State Department may have ignored the matter rather than seeking the truth. Some media accounts have suggested that security contractors have blanket legal immunity for what they do in Iraq. That is untrue. But the existing legal loopholes for U.S. government contractors working abroad - and the widespread perception that these contractors operate completely free of legal constraints - must be addressed. Congress should make this an urgent priority."
Akaka noted that jurisdiction for any future criminal charges brought in the case could come under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000 or section 804 of the USA PATRIOT Act. "We must ensure that security contractors are subject to real oversight. I will push for a full, fair, and transparent investigation of Jamie Leigh Jones' allegations, and I will continue to support legislation to ensure that security contractors are held to high standards," Akaka stated.
"With tens of thousands of American contractors operating in Iraq, we will not tolerate abuse and misconduct, and these contractors must be held accountable to American criminal law," said Senator Obama. "I first introduced legislation nearly 10 months ago to hold contractors accountable, and I will continue to work to develop a solution that closes the legal loopholes, protects our troops and civilians, and promotes America's values."
"I don't care if it's in rural Montana, inner-city Washington, or military bases in Baghdadno one is above the law," Senator Tester said. "We've got some serious questions about this case and it's not acceptable to sit around waiting for answers."
Senator Akaka is Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, as well as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness. Senators Obama and Tester are members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
A copy of the letter sent to the Attorney General appears below. Similar letters were also sent to Howard J. Krongard, Inspector General, U.S. Department of State, and Claude M. Kicklighter, Inspector General, Department of Defense.
December 14, 2007
The Honorable Michael Mukasey
United States Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Attorney General Mukasey:
We are writing to request information about your office's investigation, if any, of criminal misconduct allegedly committed against Ms. Jamie Leigh Jones while working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad, Iraq.
As you may know, Ms. Jones has filed a civil complaint alleging that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by several Halliburton/KBR employees on the night of July 28, 2005. The defendants admit that Ms. Jones reported an alleged sexual assault on July 29, 2005; she was transported to the area U.S. Army hospital where a rape kit was administered; and KBR informed the State Department of the incident.
To date, the Justice Department has not filed any charges against anyone in connection with this incident.
Please answer the following questions no later than Thursday, December 20, 2007.
1. When and by whom was your office informed of the alleged attack?
2. Has your office investigated the attack? If so:
a. Please describe the current status and expected completion date of your investigation.
b. Please state whether the investigation includes alleged destruction of evidence.
c. Please describe any findings to date in detail and provide any reports, letters, or other documents that your office has produced as a result of the investigation.
3. If your office has not investigated the attack, please explain in detail any steps your office did take in response to the allegations and the basis for your decision not to investigate.
4. Did your office instruct KBR to cease its own investigation of the incident?
a. If so, please describe the reason for the instruction; who determined that the instruction should be given; and when it was given.
b. If not, please provide any information that you have regarding whether any other component of the U.S. government issued such an instruction.
Please direct any questions you may have to Lisa Powell on the staff of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia at [phone number removed].
Daniel K. Akaka