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Video: Wasted Security Men Jeopardize US-Afghan Relations

A US security firm is sued over claims that repeated drunkenness threatened the safety of Americans in Afghanistan.

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Harmless fun? Or a threat to security?

By May Wilkerson

10/19/12

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Cellphone videos revealing the drunken behavior of US security contractors stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan have sparked a lawsuit and raised fears that sensitive relations will be further damaged. The videos were filmed by John Melson and Kenny Smith, two former employees of the Jorge Scientific firm in Kabul, where they helped train Afghan security personnel. They're now suing the firm, claiming that perpetual drunken, reckless behavior compromised the work environment. They allege that Jorge contractors frequently misused their weapons, abused local staffers, destroyed furniture and cars, and "were often too intoxicated to perform their duties." The videos, which were filmed in January and February, are being used as evidence. They depict shirtless, intoxicated men rolling on the floor and yelling at the camera; stacks of empty booze bottles and a syringe, are visible in the background. "This behavior actually was almost every other night," says Smith. The lawsuit also cites a February 2012 incident in which employees were allegedly "heavily intoxicated and grabbing at each other's weapons and firing them in the air."

Jorge Scientific states that they've since implemented a no-drinking policy, and "pledges to fully investigate and correct any mistakes to preserve and continue its history of exemplary performance." They reject claims that any work was compromised, and also say that the men in the video were not in top-security positions, and that their drunkenness would not therefore have posed a threat to safety. But Smith and Melson's attorney, David Scher, argues that the company is downplaying the men's roles. "These individuals are the security manager for the facility, and the operations manager for security for the entire country of Afghanistan for the company," he says. "These people were drunk beyond the point of incoherence, and could not possibly defend themselves if they were attacked." The US Army, who are supposed to supervise security contractors like those at Jorge Scientific, are currently investigating.

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