Senators Protest To Rumsfeld

Posted By: March 29, 2013

August 25, 2004

Honorable Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
Room 3E880
The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

We are writing to request you to ask the Inspector General to investigate a $293 million Iraq security contract given troubling concerns that recently have come to light.

The contract, which we understand is the largest yet awarded for security in postwar Iraq, was granted to a British company, Aegis Defense Services Ltd., in May to provide security teams for the Project and Contracting Office, the body responsible for overseeing $18.4 billion in U.S. reconstruction funds for Iraq.

The company is led by Tim Spicer, a former lieutenant colonel in the Scots Guards. The Boston Globe has reported that Mr. Spicer has “a reputation for illicit arms deals in Africa and for commanding a murderous military unit in Northern Ireland.” Two soldiers in the unit shot and killed Peter McBride, a Catholic teenager in Belfast in 1992 while under Mr. Spicer’s command. The two soldiers were convicted of murder. Even after he retired from the military, Mr. Spicer defended the two soldiers, who shot Mr. McBride in the back. He argued for their release, which occurred in 1998, and the soldiers were inexplicably reinstated in the British Army.

The United States Government requires all contractors to be “responsible bidders”. Contractors have to “have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics” (48 CFR 9.104-1(d)). We would like to know whether the government considered human rights abuses – or an individual who vigorously defends them – as part of this record.

Additionally, the United States Government requires consideration of the contractor’s “past performance” (48 CFR 15.304(c)(3)). We would like to know whether the contracting team adequately reviewed the contractor’s record, identified past human rights abuses or defense of abuses, and whether the contractor received a poor past performance rating on that basis.

We would also like to know the extent to which these factors were evaluated in awarding this contract to Aegis. If they were evaluated, we would like to know the rationale for awarding the contract.

In light of the recent revelations of abuses of detainees in Iraq, it is important that U.S. actions, whether by military personnel or contractors, have respect for the law. It is troubling that the Government would award a contract to an individual with a history of supporting excessive use of force against a civilian population.

Certainly we understand the urgent need to establish a secure environment, but the United States Government is also working to create a democracy in Iraq in which respect for fundamental human rights is guaranteed.

We appreciate your consideration of this request, and we look forward to the results of the Inspector General’s review.


Edward M. Kennedy

Christopher J Dodd

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Charles Schumer

John F. Kerry