Category: Archive

Spicer speared in scathing U.S. report

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

A strongly critical report by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction cites Aegis for not complying with a number of requirements of its $293 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.
However, and in stark contrast, the Pentagon recently defended its contract with Spicer in a letter to the Derry-based Pat Finucane Center.
The center, together with the Washington D.C.-based Irish National Caucus, has been vehemently critical of the contract because of Spicer’s link to the shooting dead of Belfast teenager Peter McBride.
McBride was shot in the back by soldiers of the Scots Guards regiment in September, 1992. The regiment was commanded by Spicer at that time and he subsequently defended the shooting.
In a letter to the Pentagon several months ago, the Pat Finucane Center pressed the U.S. Army to justify its decision to award Aegis Defense Services, of which Spicer is CEO, the $293 million contract for private security work in Iraq.
The Pentagon has also been pressed on the issue by a group of U.S. senators, Father Sean McManus of the Irish National Caucus, and Sarah Teather, a Liberal Democrat member of the British parliament.
Teather recently told the Echo that “serious questions” were still in need of answers with regard to Spicer and his role in the death of Peter McBride.
In its letter to the Pentagon, the Pat Finucane Center argued that in addition to the questions surrounding the Aegis contract, a previous company of which Spicer was CEO, Sandline International, was “involved in major violations of international and British law and has been the subject of international and British investigations.”
Spicer’s actions, both as an officer in the British army and as CEO of Sandline, the PFC argued, had a bearing on Spicer’s record of integrity and business ethics, both of which had to be above reproach according to the U.S. Army’s own standards.
The letter asked the Pentagon to “review” the $293 million contract awarded a year ago to Aegis and Spicer, who has variously been referred to in British press reports as Britain’s “most notorious mercenary” and a “soldier of fortune.”
In a recent reply, however, the U.S. Army Contracting Agency stated that the U.S. had determined that Spicer and Aegis Defense Services possessed satisfactory records of integrity and business ethics.
“The issue you have raised, though surrounded in political controversy, does not support any grounds for overturning the responsibility determination by our contracting officer,” a spokeswoman for the ACA wrote in the response letter.
“The actions you attribute to Mr. Spicer do not appear to have resulted in any conviction for any illegal activity bearing on his integrity and business ethics. The fact that others could have reached a different conclusion does not mean that this determination was unreasonable.”
The letter concluded by stating that the Army Contracting Agency now considered the matter closed.
However, the controversy over Aegis erupted anew last week when the Special Inspector General’s critical audit report was obtained by the Reuters news agency.
The report stated that Aegis had been unable to provide correct documents to verify that its employees were qualified to use weapons. It warned that many Iraqi employees were not properly vetted to ensure they were not a security threat.
“As a result there is no assurance that Aegis is providing the best possible safety and security for government and reconstruction contractor personnel and facilities,” the report stated.
Fr. McManus of the INC said that the report’s view that Aegis was not doing its job properly came as no surprise.
“I told President Bush that he would rue the day he funded the notorious Spicer,” McManus said.
“The real issue, here, however is not that Spicer’s employees are unqualified. The real issue is that Spicer is unqualified. He practiced and condoned state terrorism in Northern Ireland and he will leave a trail of mischief and tears in Iraq.”

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