Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Appeals court revives Iraq contractor torture cases

Rueters  May 11, 2012

A U.S. appeals court on Friday revived two lawsuits accusing employees of two defense contractors of conspiring to torture and abuse Iraqis detained at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and at other locations.

A 14-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, Virginia, refused to intervene and dismiss the suits against CACI International Inc and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc, sending the cases back to district courts for further proceedings.

After the military invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States hired contractors from U.S.-based CACI and L-3 to provide translators and help conduct investigations. In 2004, photographs emerged depicting the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. A number of military personnel were disciplined, but no contractors were charged.

In 2008, a number of Iraqis filed suits against CACI and L-3, accusing their employees of inflicting physical and sexual abuse, electric shocks and mock executions on prisoners.

District courts in Virginia and Maryland rejected the companies’ attempts to dismiss the suits. The companies had filed an interim appeal, before the cases could proceed, asking the 4th Circuit to throw out the claims. They pointed to a 2009 ruling by a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., that had dismissed a similar suit against the companies — a decision the U.S. Supreme Court allowed to stand.

In September 2011, a split three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit ruled in the companies’ favor, finding that the companies had immunity as government contractors and that the claims were pre-empted by U.S. national security and foreign policy law.

But after agreeing to reconsider the appeal, a larger panel of the 4th Circuit reached the opposite

conclusion on Friday in a 12-2 decision that splintered the court, drawing five separate opinions. The companies did not qualify for an immediate appeal, and their claims of immunity needed to be developed through the discovery of evidence, the majority concluded.

Accepting the early appeal would “undermine efficient judicial administration and encroach upon the prerogatives of district court judges, who play a special role in managing ongoing litigation,” Judge Robert King wrote for the majority.

Two judges dissented in separate opinions. The majority’s ruling “inflicts significant damage on the separation of powers, allowing civil tort suits to invade theaters of armed conflict,” Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson wrote, arguing for the defense contractors’ immunity.

A spokeswoman for CACI said the company was reviewing the ruling and declined to comment. L-3 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Baher Azmy, a lawyer for the Iraqi plaintiffs with the Center for Constitutional Rights, described the ruling as a significant jurisdictional decision that would provide the Iraqis with their day in court.

The Justice Department had filed an amicus brief in the appeal, arguing that the Iraqis should be allowed to sue the contractors for damages.

The case is Al Shimari et al v. CACI International Inc et al, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, No. 09-1335

May 11, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Iraq, L-3 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Large Contracts Awarded past quarter

From GovConExec News  September 6, 2011

The Veterans Affairs Department awarded spots on a $12 billion contract to modernize IT operations to 14 firms, including Booz Allen, CACI, HP and Harris.
DynCorp International, PAE Group, SAIC and Tetra Tech, among others, were added to a five-year, $10 billion IDIQ contract from State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs to provide worldwide civilian police and criminal justice assistance.
The U.S. Army selected Northrop Grumman Technical Services, Inc., L-3 Communication Services, Inc., Mission Essential Personnel, CACI Premier Technology Inc., and DynCorp International and AECOM’s joint venture Global Linguist Solutions to compete for task orders on its $9.7 billion defense language interpretation translation enterprise contract.
The U.S. Army awarded 16 contractors a place on a $997 million contract for force protection measures. Awardees include DRS, ITT, SAIC, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, BAE, Ideal Innovations, among others.

Please read more at GovConExec News

September 6, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contract Awards, Contracts Awarded, Government Contractor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abu Ghraib Inmates Lose U.S. High Court Bid to Sue Contractors

by Greg Stohr at Bloomberg News  June 27, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive a lawsuit that accused two military contractors of abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, turning away an appeal by 26 onetime prisoners.

The inmates sought to sue CACI International Inc. (CACI), which helped interrogate prisoners at the facility, and Titan Corp., which provided translation services. Titan has since been renamed and is now part of L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL)

The inmates, who were civilian detainees, said they were subjected to abuses by CACI and Titan employees including beatings, sexual humiliation, exposure to extreme temperatures and rape. In court papers, the inmates said some prisoners were tortured into unconsciousness and several were murdered.

Abu Ghraib became an international embarrassment for the U.S. in 2004, when photographs surfaced showing guards mistreating inmates.

Please read the entire report at Bloomberg News

June 27, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Government Contractor, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Military Contractors | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Public urged to boycott census over contractor’s alleged torture link

The Guardian UK The Observer March 6, 2011

The public are being urged to boycott the census in Scotland over allegations that the parent company of a UK firm contracted to gather information has been linked to the torture of prisoners at Iraq‘s notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

Protesters say they are willing to break the law and face a criminal record and a £1,000 fine in an attempt to force the Scottish government to cancel the £18.5m contract it awarded to CACI (UK).

The London-based company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of US contractor CACI International, which provided interrogators who worked at Abu Ghraib prison at the height of the prisoner abuse scandal. The prison became infamous in 2004 when disturbing images emerged of US soldiers abusing prisoners. The pictures included naked Iraqi detainees cowering from dogs, and US soldiers were later found to have perpetrated widespread torture.

Civilian staff working for private US security companies specialising in interrogation techniques were alleged to have been involved in some of the human rights abuses.  Please see the original article here

March 5, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Government Contractor, Iraq | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Department of “Little Justice”

Maybe the Department of Justice should be renamed the

Department of “Little” Justice

from Ms Sparky

MANHATTAN (CN) – After a federal jury convicted an Army captain of corruption with military contractors in Iraq, an attorney who has spent years on such cases said that such prosecutions are rare – and much needed. “For several years, we were very worried because we just saw a complete lack of any sort of fraud prosecution against defense contractors,” said.

“Given the dollars being spent on both these wars, it’s imperative for the United States to continue to root out fraud,” Burke added.

Burke, who has specialized in cases involving misconduct by contractors and military personnel, has represented victims of torture, abuse and murder at prison and Nisour Square in Iraq.

Last year, her Iraqi clients settled seven civil lawsuits alleging “senseless slaughter” by guards of the company formerly known as , now operating under the name Xe.

Burke says she still has three active lawsuits against defense contractors CACI and L-3, on behalf of Iraqis who say they were tortured at detention centers in Iraq.  See the entire post here

January 5, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Government Contractor, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Attorney Calls for More Prosecutions of Corruption in Defense Contracts

by Adam Klasfeld at Courthouse News

MANHATTAN (CN) – After a federal jury convicted an Army captain of corruption with military contractors in Iraq, an attorney who has spent years on such cases said that such prosecutions are rare – and much needed. “For several years, we were very worried because we just saw a complete lack of any sort of fraud prosecution against defense contractors,” Susan Burke said.
“Given the dollars being spent on both these wars, it’s imperative for the United States to continue to root out fraud,” Burke added.
Burke, who has specialized in cases involving misconduct by contractors and military personnel, has represented victims of torture, abuse and murder at Abu Ghraib prison and Nisour Square in Iraq.
Last year, her Iraqi clients settled seven civil lawsuits alleging “senseless slaughter” by guards of the company formerly known as Blackwater, now operating under the name Xe.
Burke says she still has three active lawsuits against defense contractors CACI and L-3, on behalf of Iraqis who say they were tortured at detention centers in Iraq.
She also has an active suit against Blackwater founder Erik Prince and his entities, on behalf of a married couple who used to work for him. The husband and wife Burke represents sued under the False Claims Act, which allows whistleblowers to sue contractors on behalf of the federal government for fraud.
Burke spoke to Courthouse News after Army Capt. Bryant Williams was convicted of corruption in December. Williams was on active duty at the time.
Burke said she has been trying for years to get the federal government to pursue cases against defense corruption cases more aggressively – to little avail.
“We’ve been following, essentially, the lack of actions by the Department of Justice with regard to the torture issues,” Burke said, “and we keep an eye on the federal prosecutions against defense contractors on the fraud issue.”
The Uniform Code of Military Justice prevents the military from prosecuting corporate employees, leaving the Department of Justice the exclusive authority to prosecute crimes by military contractors, Burke said.

Please read Susan Burkes statements in their entirety here

January 4, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Legal Jurisdictions, Pentagon, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Defense bans contractors from interrogating detainees

By Robert Brodsky rbrodsky@govexec.com November 4, 2010 at Government Executive

The Pentagon has issued an interim rule that would formally prevent private contractors from interrogating detainees in military custody.

The notice, published on Wednesday in the Federal Register, implements a fiscal 2010 National Defense Authorization Act provision by allowing only government personnel to question detainees.

The statute, however, does permit the Defense secretary to waive the prohibition temporarily if doing so is “vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

Interrogation is a key tool for the United States and its allies to win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the practice must operate legally and should support the military’s mission overseas, according to the rule.

“It is imperative that contractor activities in support of these efforts comply with the law and do not detract from the commander’s intent in order to contribute to mission success,” the draft regulation stated. “A lack of compliance affects the perception of both local citizens and the international community, which would provide support to our adversaries that will adversely impact the U.S. government’s efforts.”

The CIA already has stopped using private contractors for interrogations.

While private sector firms will not be allowed to grill detainees, they will be permitted to assist in the interrogation.

At the request of the Obama administration, lawmakers revised the 2010 authorization measure to allow contractor personnel with proper training and security clearances to serve as linguists, interpreters, report writers, information technology technicians, and trainers and advisers to the interrogators.

The contractors must be subject to the same laws, rules, procedures and policies as the government interrogators, and qualified and trained Defense Department personnel must oversee them to ensure they do not perform prohibited activities.

“In some limited cases, a contract interrogator may possess the best combination of skills to obtain critical intelligence, and this provision, therefore, could prevent U.S. forces from conducting lawful interrogations in the most effective manner,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a July 2009 statement of policy on the Defense measure.

The final version of the law defines detainees as “enemy prisoners of war, civilian internees and retained personnel” but not Defense Department or contractor personnel being held for law enforcement purposes.

The provision was a response to allegations that employees of private firms CACI International Inc. and L-3 Communication (formerly Titan Corp.) conspired to torture detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 and 2004.

Some of the Iraqi detainees have successfully sued the firms, but the companies have appealed the ruling. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., is hearing the case. Contractors are arguing they are covered by the same level of immunity that protects U.S. soldiers from being sued by enemy combatants in wartime.

“Immediate implementation of this statute is necessary to preclude a contracting officer from inadvertently awarding a contract that allows for the interrogation of detainees by contractor personnel,” the interim rule stated.

Please see the original article here and leave your comments

Defense will accept comments on the rule through Jan. 3, 2011. They can be submitted by e-mail at dfars@osd.mil; through the Regulations.gov website; or by mail to:

Defense Acquisition Regulations System
Attn.: Julian E. Thrash, OUSD (AT&L) DPAP/DARS
3060 Defense Pentagon, Room 3B855
Washington, D.C. 20301-3060

November 5, 2010 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Pentagon | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CACI Announces Closing of New $750 Million Credit Facility

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct 22, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) –– CACI International Inc /quotes/comstock/13*!caci/quotes/nls/caci (CACI 45.72, -0.04, -0.09%) , a leading professional services and information technology provider to the federal government, announced today that it has replaced its existing senior secured credit facility with a new $750 million senior secured credit facility. The new facility comprises a $600 million revolver and a $150 million term loan. It enhances the company’s strong capital position and further increases CACI’s financial flexibility to capitalize on attractive opportunities in existing, adjacent, and new markets, organically and through acquisitions.

The five-year secured credit agreement permits revolver borrowings of up to $600 million and has an accordion feature that would allow the facility to be expanded by an additional $200 million. The interest rate for all borrowings under the facility will be at a variable rate initially equal to LIBOR plus 225 basis points per annum and may change based on the company’s total leverage ratio as described in the credit agreement. The new facility is subject to affirmative, negative, and financial covenants that are customary for this type of credit agreement.

Paul Cofoni, CACI’s President and CEO, said, “This new credit facility is an important step in executing our strategy to grow our company. It provides us with additional flexibility to take advantage of opportunities to complement the organic growth of our business and help further shareholder returns. Along with our strong cash flow, the facility enhances our mergers and acquisition program, where we continue to pursue potential candidates in well-funded and high-priority areas, particularly those firms that can bring us new customers and add to our distinctive services.”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted as the administrative agent and joint book runner, with affiliates of JP Morgan Chase Bank, SunTrust Bank, Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, and Wells Fargo Bank also serving as joint book runners in the transaction.

CACI provides professional services and IT solutions needed to prevail in the areas of defense, intelligence, homeland security, and IT modernization and government transformation. We deliver enterprise IT and network services; data, information, and knowledge management services; business system solutions; logistics and material readiness; C4ISR integration services; cyber solutions; integrated security and intelligence solutions; and program management and SETA support services. CACI services and solutions help our federal clients provide for national security, improve communications and collaboration, secure the integrity of information systems and networks, enhance data collection and analysis, and increase efficiency and mission effectiveness. CACI is a member of the Fortune 1000 Largest Companies and the Russell 2000 index. CACI provides dynamic careers for approximately 12,900 employees working in over 120 offices in the U.S. and Europe. Visit CACI on the web at www.caci.com and www.asymmetricthreat.net.

There are statements made herein which do not address historical facts, and therefore could be interpreted to be forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from anticipated results. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated include, but are not limited to, the following: regional and national economic conditions in the United States and the United Kingdom, including conditions that result from a prolonged recession; terrorist activities or war; changes in interest rates; currency fluctuations; significant fluctuations in the equity markets; changes in our effective tax rate; valuation of contingent consideration in connection with business combinations; failure to achieve contract awards in connection with recompetes for present business and/or competition for new business; the risks and uncertainties associated with client interest in and purchases of new products and/or services; continued funding of U.S. government or other public sector projects, based on a change in spending patterns, or in the event of a priority need for funds, such as homeland security, the war on terrorism or rebuilding Iraq, or an economic stimulus package; government contract procurement (such as bid protest, small business set asides, loss of work due to organizational conflicts of interest, etc.) and termination risks; the results of government investigations into allegations of improper actions related to the provision of services in support of U.S. military operations in Iraq; the results of government audit and reviews conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency or other governmental entities with cognizant oversight; the insourcing of contractor positions by the government; individual business decisions of our clients; paradigm shifts in technology; competitive factors such as pricing pressures and/or competition to hire and retain employees (particularly those with security clearances); market speculation regarding our continued independence; material changes in laws or regulations applicable to our businesses, particularly in connection with (i) government contracts for services, (ii) outsourcing of activities that have been performed by the government, and (iii) competition for task orders under Government Wide Acquisition Contracts (“GWACs”) and/or schedule contracts with the General Services Administration; the ability to integrate the operations of our recent acquisitions; our own ability to achieve the objectives of near term or long range business plans; and other risks described in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

SOURCE: CACI International Inc

October 22, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight | , , | Leave a comment

U.S. views sought in Iraqi contractor torture case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) The Supreme Court on Monday asked the U.S. government for its views about a lawsuit claiming that employees of two defense contractors took part in the torture and abuse of Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

A group of Iraqis appealed to the high court seeking to reinstate their lawsuit against CACI International Inc, which provided interrogators at Abu Ghraib, and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc’s Titan unit, which provided interpreters to the U.S. military.

The lawsuit was filed in 2004 on behalf of the Iraqis who say they or their relatives had been tortured or mistreated while detained by the U.S. military at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. They said contractor employees participated in the abuse, a claim denied by the companies.

A federal appeals court dismissed the lawsuit because the companies had immunity as government contractors. It also said the suit was pre-empted by U.S. national security and foreign policy law.

In appealing to the Supreme Court, attorneys for the Iraqis argued that victims of torture may proceed with lawsuits against private parties, and that corporations can be held liable for torture under international law.

But attorneys for CACI and L-3 opposed the appeal, said the appeals court’s rejection of the claims was correct, and argued that further review of the case by the Supreme Court was unwarranted.

On the first day of its new term, the Supreme Court issued a brief order asking the Justice Department to file a brief in the case expressing the views of the U.S. government.  Original here

October 4, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Iraq | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Government Made Me Do It?

by David Isenberg at Huff Post

Hmm, CACI can’t be very happy about this development. Almost about two years ago it announced the release of Our Good Name, A Company’s Fight to Defend Its Honor and Get the Truth Told About Abu Ghraib.

Written by company chairman Dr. J. Phillip (“Jack”) London and the CACI team who defended the company during the crisis the book recounted how the Iraqi Abu Ghraib prison scandal of 2004 dragged the Virginia-based contractor into the spotlight.

For those that have forgotten, CACI was one of two companies implicated in the scandal. CACI, provided interrogators and the other, Titan, provided translators. CACI provided 27 interrogators to work in detention centers in Iraq. Several worked at Abu Ghraib, including Steven Stephanowicz, who was named in General Antonio M. Taguba’s report on events in Abu Ghraib.

Among other things Gen. Tabuba found:

In general, US civilian contract personnel (Titan Corporation, CACI, etc …), third country nationals, and local contractors do not appear to be properly supervised within the detention facility at Abu Ghraib. During our on-site inspection, they wandered about with too much unsupervised free access in the detainee area.

Given that it was written by CACI and published by Regnery a conservative publishing house, it is unsurprising that the book found CACI blameless of all charges and that it was the victim of “erroneous and malicious reports by a rampaging media.”

But that was then and this is now. Most people have moved on and relegated Abu Ghraib to the ash heap of history and CACI had successfully put all this behind it. Indeed, just yesterday its latest quarterly results were announced

We are pleased to report record third quarter net income of $26.7 million, or $0.87 diluted earnings per share. This net income was a 21.6 percent increase over net income of $22.0 million, or $0.72 diluted earnings per share, for the same period last year. The 16.3 percent increase in revenue in the quarter was driven by organic growth of 14.2 percent, reflecting the continued strong performance of our defense and intelligence businesses.

Indeed, it won approximately $65 million in previously unannounced awards from the Intelligence Community.

And so CACI must be very happy; at least it probably was until this past Tuesday when the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) announced that it had asked the Supreme Court to take up the case against CACI and L-3 Services (formerly Titan).

CCR argues that the Supreme Court should hear the case because the Court of Appeals decision of September 11, 2009, gave corporate government contractors more protections than even U.S. soldiers enjoy, and constituted judicial overreaching. The lawyers also argued that the military’s own investigations had found CACI and L-3 employees participated in the torture, humiliation and dehumanization of the Iraqi civilians detained at Abu Ghraib. Finally, the lawyers argued that corporations could be held liable for war crimes, including torture, under international law.

The case it refers to is Saleh v. Titan, first filed in 2004, which is a federal lawsuit brought by more than 250 former Iraqi prisoners against private contractors CACI and L-3 Services that alleges the companies’ employees participated in torture and serious abuses while they were hired to provide interrogation and interpretation services, respectively, at Abu Ghraib and other detention facilities in Iraq.

The suit charges defendants with torture and other war crimes, as well as common law torts including sexual assault and battery, and negligent hiring and supervision. The acts to which the plaintiffs alleged they were subjected at the hands of the defendants and certain government co-conspirators include: rape and threats of rape and other forms of sexual assault; being forced to watch a family member tortured and abused so badly that he died; repeated beatings, including beatings with chains, boots and other objects; forced nudity; hooding; being detained in isolation; being urinated on and otherwise humiliated.

The history of the case thus far is that on November 6, 2007, U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson denied CACI’s motion for summary judgment and ordered a jury trial against CACI. CACI appealed this ruling to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In the same Order, Judge Robertson granted Titan’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing the case against Titan.

On September 11, 2009, in a 2-1 decision, a panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the dismissal of all claims against Titan/L-3, and, reversing the district court’s decision, also dismissed all claims against CACI. Judge Merrick Garland, in his lengthy dissent, critiqued the “breadth of the protective cloak” that the majority “cast over the activities of private contractors.”

When one reads the suit one finds gems like this:

Respondent CACI admitted that CACI management was present at Abu Ghraib, and had the authority to stop their employees from torturing detainees. Respondent CACI claimed that their employees were nonetheless under the military’s command and control.

Of course, one wants to hear what CACI has to say about this new suit but one hope that its defense is something other than they were just following orders. Nuremberg-like defenses do not have much credibility these days. The government made me do it is not a sufficient defense for many regular military personnel and even less so for private contractors.

Follow David Isenberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/vanidan

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Private Military Contractors, Wartime Contracting | , , , | Leave a comment