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Project on Government Oversight

Embassy (In)Security

From Beirut to Benghazi, from Tehran to Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, terrorists time and again have targeted U.S. diplomatic posts abroad. The attacks have tragically exposed weaknesses in embassy security. For years, the Project On Government Oversight has been investigating the issue. In 2009, for example, POGO brought to light lurid images of a breakdown in discipline and evidence of other security deficiencies at the embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. In January 2013, POGO reported that the same embassy was again imperiled by security problems. Herewith, a tour of POGO’s deep dive into diplomatic (in)security.



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October 15, 2013

By Jamie Neikrie

Watchdog Reports Security Weaknesses at State Department

State Department Months after a federal Accountability Review Board advised the Department of State on ways to prevent future tragedies like the deadly September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, State has yet to implement many of the recomme

Continue Reading Watchdog Reports Security Weaknesses at State Department

Topics: National Security

September 20, 2013

By David S. Hilzenrath

State Dept. Corrects Testimony POGO Exposed as Misleading

Patrick Kennedy A week after the Project On Government Oversight exposed recent State Department testimony on embassy security as inaccurate and misleading, the Department has written a letter to members of the U.S. Senate acknowledging that its testimony was wrong and co

Continue Reading State Dept. Corrects Testimony POGO Exposed as Misleading

Topics: Contract Oversight

September 18, 2013

By David S. Hilzenrath

Questions for Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy At a House hearing Wednesday, Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy faced intense questioning about Benghazi. There are also questions Kennedy could answer about the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, where former guards say security problems could lead to tragedy.

Continue Reading Questions for Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy

Topics: Contract Oversight



2009 Testimony by Danielle Brian

In 2009, POGO's Executive Director Danielle Brian testified before the Commission on Wartime Contracting about ArmorGroup, the contractor hired to protect the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, and how a lack of proper oversight from the State Department may have jeopardized the security of the embassy.

Read the Testimony


Photos from our 2009 Investigation

In 2009, a POGO investigation revealed security failings at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that included overworked guards and wild, drunken behavior. During POGO's investigation, about 30 members of ArmorGroup North America came forward with evidence that showed the contractor had allowed a "Lord of the Flies" environment that threatened embassy security.

See the Photos


The "Mutiny" Memo

A July 2012 memo from the State Department that says a "mutiny" among private security guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul put the embassy "at risk." This memo was part of a January 2013 POGO report on the complaints of guards hired to protect the embassy in Kabul.

Read the Memo


Lawsuit Filed by Guards from the Kabul Embassy

In January 2013, four former guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul filed a class-action lawsuit accusing Aegis Defense Services, the firm hired to protect the embassy, of breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The former guards said Aegis told them to lie about their long hours and "regularly edited employees’ timesheets so that they did not reveal any work beyond the Regular Schedule," according to the lawsuit.

Read the Lawsuit


Ongoing Reporting

Images by: Flickr users DVIDSHUB and Iman Mosaad, the Department of State, Pam Rutter, and Andre Francisco.

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