When we first heard that ABC News was working on a story about U.S. security contractors in Afghanistan getting drunk and doing drugs, we had one of those collective sighs: “Here we go again.”
The leaked cell phone video that ABC News and CNN broadcast this week showed a shirtless, staggering security manager for Jorge Scientific showing off his drunken Kung Fu and later wrestling another man. Even more troubling was a shot of the company’s chief medical officer appearing stoned out of his mind on what the report identified as the drug Ketamine.
As Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project On Government Oversight, told ABC News, the men in the video were not only endangering themselves, but also the civilians they were hired to protect.
There was other questionable behavior in investigative reporter Brian Ross’s Nightline report. Employees of Jorge Scientific, which has a $47 million contract to train Afghan police, also supposedly threw live ammo into bonfires they built outside their Kabul residence.
One of the former employees who blew the whistle on the improper behavior said, “It was like a frat house.”
Frat house antics. Drunk, shirtless contractors. Bonfires. It’s déjà vu all over again.
Three years ago, my colleagues at POGO heard similar stories from whistleblowers working for a different security contractor in Afghanistan. That contractor, ArmorGroup North America, provided security at the U.S. embassy in Kabul.