House Armed Services Committee Investigating Iraq Mercenaries

Brian Zick

Barbara Barrett for McClatchy reports: Four years after the invasion of Iraq, Congress still has been unable to grasp the scope of armed security contractors working in that country.This week, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri and Rep. David Price of North Carolina, both Democrats, asked the Government Accountability Office to provide details on the use of private security contractors in Iraq.Skelton and Price want to know how many such contractors are working there, for what purpose and under what legal authority. There has been little oversight over cost and operations so far, but many questions.According to earlier GAO reports, contractors often move into battle zones without the military's knowledge, and the military in turn has done little training for troops on how to deal with private contractors. There are estimated to be as many as 100,000 security contractors working in the country.

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