Earlier this week, former Halliburton/KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones revealed that in 2005 she had been “raped by multiple men at a KBR camp” in Baghdad. For the past two years, her congressman, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), has been pushing the federal government to investigate the matter, but he “says neither the department of State nor Justice will give him answers” on the status of the investigation.
On CNN’s Lou Dobbs’ Tonight last night, Poe said that he does “not think this is an isolated case” and encouraged “other victims to notify” his office:
DOBBS: Now I know you’ve written a letter to the U.S. attorney general, Michael Mukasey, seeking his intervention in this case. Is there anything the audience of this broadcast can do so assist you?
POE: Yes, exactly. There’s something you can do. We do not think this is an isolated case of sexual assault against American citizens in Baghdad by coworkers. We want the other victims to notify my office immediately.
Frustrated by the government’s inaction, Jones is now taking her case to the civil court system, but KBR is pushing for it to be heard in “private arbitration,” without a “public record or transcript.” Halliburton has “won more than 80 percent of arbitration proceedings brought against it.”
Beyond Poe, Jones’ cause has been taken up by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who both wrote to Attorney General Michael Mukasey urging him to investigate her claims. Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee announced that it will hold a hearing on Jones’ allegations next Wednesday.
Poe’s congressional office can be contacted here.
UPDATE: Sen. Ben Nelson (D-FL) wrote to Mukasey today as well, asking him to look into “the possibility that a number of other similar rapes may have occurred in Iraq that have gone unreported.”
UPDATE II: According to ABC’s Justin Rood, Nelson also sent a letter to Defense Secretary Gates describing “recent reports that at least two women who worked in Iraq under contractors for the Department of Defense were sexually assaulted by male coworkers.””